Oral health is
integrally connected with your general overall health!
What is dental
Most people recognize dental amalgams as silver fillings. Dental
amalgam is a mixture of mercury, and an alloy of silver, tin and
copper. Mercury makes up about 45-50 percent of the compound.
Mercury is used to bind the metals together and to provide a
strong, hard durable filling. After years of research,
mercury has been found to be the only element that
will bind these metals together in such a way that can
be easily manipulated into a tooth cavity
in dental amalgam safe?
Mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous.
When mercury is combined with other materials in
dental amalgam, its chemical nature changes, so it is
The amount released in the mouth
under the pressure of chewing and grinding is
extremely small (1-3 micrograms)** and no cause for alarm. In fact, it
is less than what patients are exposed to in food,
air, and water ( 5-7 micrograms a day)**.
studies conducted over the past 100 years continue to
prove that amalgam is not harmful. Claims of diseases
caused by mercury in amalgam are anecdotal, as are
claims of miraculous cures achieved by removing
amalgam. These claims have not been proven
do dentists use dental amalgams?
Dental amalgam has withstood the test of time, which
is why it is the material of choice. It has a 150-year
proven track record and is still one of the:
materials to a fill a cavity.
It is estimated that more than 1 billion amalgam
restorations (fillings) are placed annually. Dentists
use dental amalgams because it is easier to work with
than other alternatives. Some patients prefer dental
amalgam to other alternatives because of its safety,
cost-effectiveness, and ability to be placed in the
tooth cavity quickly
Why don't dentists
use alternatives to
Alternatives to amalgam:
are more costly.
Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make
and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or
white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but
require a longer time to place the restoration. It
should also be known that these materials, with the
exception of gold, are not as durable as amalgam
What about patients
allergic to mercury?
The incidence of allergy to mercury is far less
than one percent of the population. People
suspected of having an allergy to mercury should
receive tests by qualified physicians, and, when
necessary, seek appropriate alternatives. Should
patients have amalgam removed?
No. To do so,
without need, would result in unnecessary expense
potential injury to
Are staff occupationally
Dentists are using pre-mixed capsules, which reduce
the chance of mercury spills. And newer, more advanced
dental amalgams are containing smaller amounts of
mercury than before.
An interesting factor can be brought
into this: Because dental staff are exposed to mercury
more often, one would expect dental personnel to have
higher rates of neurological diseases, such as
multiple sclerosis. They do not.
What are other
sources of mercury?
Mercury can be found in:
We are exposed to
higher levels of mercury from these sources than from a mouthful
ADA Testifies Before FDA on Dental
Filling Safety Story Receives Widespread Media Coverage
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is holding a
two-day panel meeting today and tomorrow to gather facts
and opinions regarding dental amalgam. ADA
representatives, as well as a number of witnesses from
other dental organizations, are testifying at the
meeting. Numerous other individuals will also testify,
including two international participants describing the
basis for their countries' regulation of amalgam. Time
has been set aside for comments from the public, and we
expect a number of dental amalgam opponents will share
The FDA has prepared a draft report in advance of the
meeting that supports the safety of
dental amalgam. No
specific FDA regulatory action is expected; however,
this meeting has received widespread media coverage due
primarily to Associated Press and CBS network radio
stories. Both stories cited the ADA's position that the
weight of scientific evidence indicates dental
amalgam is a safe and effective restorative material.
NBC Nightly News is also covering this story, and may
air its segment tomorrow night.
* Dentists welcome this review of the science by
* The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence,
including two recent clinical trials published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, support the
safety and effectiveness of dental amalgam.
* Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury
combined with other metals such as silver, copper, tin
and zinc, which forms a safe, stable cavity-filling
material. It's important to note that dental amalgam has
entirely different properties than mercury by itself.
* Amalgam is one of several safe, effective
materials to fill cavities. Other materials include gold
and tooth-colored fillings.
* A news release about the FDA meeting and
testimony from our three representatives is posted on
* Dental Filling Options: information for
* An ADA press statement <http://www.ada.org/public/media/releases/0604_release03.asp>
on the dental amalgam clinical trials published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.
* A Journal of the American Dental Association
patient page entitled, <http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/jada/patient/patient_52.pdf>
When A Filling Needs to be Replaced
Are amalgam dental restorations containing mercury safe for children?
Children who received dental restorative treatment with amalgam did
not score significantly better or worse on neurobehavioral and
neuropsychological assessments than children who received resin
composite material. Children who receive restoration with resin may
be more likely to need additional treatment. Studies evaluating
outcomes for longer than 5 to 7 years are needed. (LOE = 1b)
Bellinger DC, Trachtenberg F, Barregard L, et al. Neuropsychological
and renal effects of dental amalgam in children. A randomized
clinical trial. JAMA 2006;295:1775-1783.
in Moms Don't Lead to Small Babies
Risk of low birth weight infants
debunked in new study
good news for expectant moms with cavities, a
new study suggests pregnant women aren't
threatening their newborn's birth weight by
getting mercury-based silver amalgam fillings.
This latest research revealed no
connection between use of the fillings and low
birth weight.You cannot prove absolute safety,
but mercury seems to have quite a bit of data on
it now indicating that it shouldn't be of
The use of silver amalgam
fillings has dipped over the past couple of
decades. They made up 68 percent of all fillings
in the United States in 1990, but dropped to 30
percent in 2003.Resin-based fillings known as
"white" fillings have become more popular, and
some dentists have abandoned silver fillings
because of concerns about the safety of mercury.
While silver amalgam fillings
are commonly known just as "silver," they're
actually made of several metals, including
silver, tin, mercury and copper. The fillings
"are a very good filling material. They're very
long-lasting and have good properties as far as
Concerns about mercury
exposure have grown in recent years, especially
regarding its presence in foods such as fish.
However, the U.S. government has declared that
there is "scant evidence that the health of the
vast majority of people with amalgam (fillings)
In the new study, Hujoel and
his colleagues studied a dental insurance
company's records of 1,117 Washington state
women who gave birth to low-weight infants and
4,468 women who gave birth to infants of normal
The findings appear in the
April 15 issue of the American Journal of
The researchers found no
connection between getting amalgam fillings
during pregnancy -- nearly 5 percent of the
women did so -- and giving birth to a
underweight baby. Even women who had as many as
11 fillings during pregnancy weren't more likely
to give birth to a low-weight child.
The study is another paper in
a growing body of evidence that amalgam is safe
and effective way to repair teeth that have been
damaged by decay or trauma.
Learn more about amalgam fillings from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Randy Dotinga HealthDay Reporter
SOURCES: Philippe P. Hujoel, Ph.D., D.D.S.,
professor, dental public health sciences,
University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Rod
Mackert, D.M.D., Ph.D., spokesman, American
Dental Association, and professor, dentistry,
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta; April 15,
2005, American Journal of Epidemiology
A new study, conducted by leading scientists from highly
regarded research and academic institutions, finds no
link between amalgam exposure and neurological function,
reports the American Dental Association.
`Our findings do not support the hypothesis that
exposure to amalgam produces adverse, clinically evident
neurological effects,' concludes Albert Kingman, Ph.D.,
Chief, Biostatistics Core, at the National Institute of
Dental and Craniofacial Research. The team tested for
abnormal tremors, coordination, station or gait,
strength, sensation and muscle stretch reflexes.
The study followed 1,663 subjects of the ongoing Air
Force Health Study of Vietnam era veterans. An oral
health examination has been part of the standard AFHS
medical examination since 1992 because `peripheral
neuropathy' is considered to be an important adverse
neurological effect of high levels of exposure to
mercury. This refers to an abnormality in sensation,
such as vibration sensation at the ankle, pinprick
sensation at the great toe and/or absence of ankle
The study found no connection of amalgam to any level
of peripheral neuropathy. We were unable to detect
any associations between amalgam exposure and clinical
signs of either neuropathy or a diminished sensation of
the big toe among adult males - these are standard
measures for diagnosing clinical neuropathy.
The research appears in the March 05 issue of
scientists find no link to neurological functions
A new study, conducted by leading
scientists from highly regarded research and academic
institutions, finds no link between amalgam exposure
and neurological function. Our findings do not support
the hypothesis that exposure to amalgam produces
adverse, clinically evident neurological effects.
These effects tested, as part of the
overall neurological evaluation, include abnormal
tremors, coordination, station or gait, strength,
sensation and muscle stretch reflexes.
An oral health examination has been
part of the standard AFHS medical examination since 1992
because "peripheral neuropathy" is considered to be an
important adverse neurological effect of high levels of
exposure to elemental mercury. "Peripheral neuropathy"
refers to an abnormality in sensation, such as vibration
sensation at the ankle, pinprick sensation at the great
toe and/or absence of ankle reflexes.
But as with other neurological
effects, the study found no connection of amalgam to any
level of peripheral neuropathy.
They were unable to detect any
associations between amalgam exposure and clinical signs
of either neuropathy or a diminished sensation of
the big toe among adult males — these are standard
measures for diagnosing clinical neuropathy.
This study represents another
important piece to the research puzzle because of the
unique military population tested. The results should
be taken in the context of the larger group of clinical
studies that have not found direct evidence linking
amalgam exposure to impaired neurological function or
The bottom line is there was no
association between abnormal neurological signs and
amalgam exposure. So these findings do not support the
hypothesis that amalgam exposure produces clinically
evident neurological effects."
The NIDCR-led research was conducted
because "concerns regarding the safety of silver-mercury
amalgam fillings continue to be raised in the absence of
any direct evidence of harm," the study reads. "The
widespread population exposure to amalgam mandated that
a thorough investigation be conducted of its potential
effects on the nervous system."
Amalgam is a safe dental restorative
material. This study, like the recently published report
by the independent, nonprofit Life Science Research
Office, which extensively reviewed the literature and
concluded that amalgam is safe to use in people, adds to
the definitive scientific evidence attesting to
amalgam's demonstrated track record of safety.
The LSRO report's executive summary
can be downloaded at no cost by visiting "www.lsro.org",
click on "Review of Dental Amalgams." To obtain the full
text, call the LSRO bookstore at 1-301-634-7030.
By Mark Berthold Rsearch by by Albert
Kingman, Ph.D., Chief, Biostatistics Core, at the
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research,
part of the federal National Institutes of Health.
Exposure and Neurological Function," appears in the
March issue of NeuroToxicology. It followed 1,663
subjects of the ongoing Air Force Health Study of
Vietnam era veterans.
Much of this information was received from Jack Mitchem, DMD,
professor of dental materials at Oregon Health Sciences
University Dental School and past chairman of the American
Dental Association Council on Dental Materials, Instruments and
AGD Impact thanks Recall, the Oregon AGD newsletter, which also
contributed to portions of this fact sheet.
© 1996-2002 Academy of General
Study finds no link between dental
amalgam and cognitive dysfunction
There is no link between exposure to
mercury from dental amalgam and any detectable cognitive dysfunction.
This studies results are reassuring in that exposure to amalgam-derived
mercury is not associated with detectable subtle
Perspectives is the journal of the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences. November 2002
Updates on Mercury
Health Canada states that:
is no indication that this mercury is causing health problems. There
is no reason to ban amalgams nor is there any reason to remove existing
amalgams from patients. Its recommendations to dentists include:
Amalgams should not be placed if a
patient has kidney function problems.
If patients have a hypersensitivity
to mercury, they should not receive amalgams; they should also have
existing amalgams replaced if this is recommended by a physician.
Non-mercury materials should be
used for restorations in children.
Pregnant women should not receive
mercury based amalgams, nor should they have them removed.
Dentists should give their patients
enough information to allow the patient to make an informed decision
about restorations and restoration materials.
Patients have the right to refuse the
use of any dental restoration material. [Health Canada is a
governmental agency that is responsible for guarding the safety and
health of Canadians, 8/03].
|If you're concerned about keeping
mercury out of your diet, choose tuna fish from a
Over time, some varieties of fish
tend to accumulate high amounts of mercury, a
potentially toxic compound, from the environment.
Thus, canned tuna, which typically uses short-lived
fish, may contain lower levels of mercury compared
to longer-lived fresh or frozen tuna.
RealAge Benefit: Actively
patrolling your health can make your RealAge as much
as 12 years younger.
The U.S. Food and Drug-Administration, Public Health Service, National
Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, American Dental Association,
and Academy of General Dentistry have found no sound scientific evidence that suggest the mercury in your fillings has any negative health effect. In
extremely rare cases, people may be allergic to one or more of the metals contained in the
filling. Use of amalgam has proven 150 year track record of safety and durability.
Mercury is toxic in its elemental form, as in old fashioned mercury
thermometers. But when it is mixed with other metals and set in a filling the mercury is
rendered inert. The National Institutes of Health, dental materials experts say you would
have to have almost 500 fillings to face the slightest effects of this vapor.
Please recognize that even the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Alzheimer's
Association have stated that there is no connection between the mercury in fillings
and other health problems.Replacing your fillings would be extremely costly
and invasive and could weaken your teeth causing more problems.^
To Mercury (Weekly Absorbed Dose)
|Amalgam (13 0cc.)*
*Bergland, A.,J.Dent.Res. 69:1646-51,
The average American absorbs about 5.7 micrograms
of total mercury per day! A dental amalgam fillings only adds1-3
micrograms to that amount.**
Affects on Dentist
**ADA News Volume 32, No.15 August 20, 2001, pg
^ AGD Impact, pg 10-12. October
February 06, 2008
Education Fillings Guide