What is Dental Amalgam?
Dental Amalgam is comprised of liquid mercury, and a powder alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper that is used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It is popular in low-income communities as it is a cheaper option than composite fillings. Though Dental Amalgam filling is a cheaper option it can cause adverse health effects in the future. The filling releases low levels of mercury vapor which is then inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. Long exposure to a high level of mercury vapor has been associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidney.
Has there been progress in the ban of Dental Amalgam?
On September 24th, 2020 The Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health Dr. Jeffery Shuren released the following statement.
“Today, the FDA is issuing updated recommendations concerning dental amalgam and potential risks to certain high-risk individuals that may be associated with these mercury-containing fillings used to restore the missing structure and surfaces of a decayed tooth.
The FDA has found that certain groups may be at greater risk for potential harmful health effects of mercury vapor released from the device. As a result, the agency is recommending certain high-risk groups to avoid getting dental amalgam whenever possible and appropriate.” Thanks to Sharon lewis our Executive Director for going to Washington DC and meeting with the FDA, They have updated their recommendations on the use of Dental Amalgam. FDA statement
Potential Risks of Dental Amalgam:
Contains elemental mercury.
Releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. Exposure to high levels of mercury vapor, which may occur in some occupational settings, has been associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidney.
Developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor.
Very limited to no clinical data is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed. Pregnant women and parents with children under six who are concerned about the absence of clinical data as to long-term health outcomes should talk to their dentist.
Although the available evidence does not show that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam will lead to adverse health effects in the general population, exposure to mercury may pose a greater health risk in the groups of people listed below, who may be more susceptible to potential adverse effects generally associated with mercury.
Pregnant women and their developing fetuses;
-Women who are planning to become pregnant;
-Nursing women and their newborns and infants;
-Children, especially those younger than six years of age;
-People with pre-existing neurological disease;
-People with impaired kidney function;
-People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components (silver, copper, tin) of dental amalgam.
Some individuals have an allergy or other sensitivity to mercury or the other components of dental amalgam (such as silver, copper, or tin). Dental amalgam might cause these individuals to develop oral lesions or other sensitivity reactions.
If you are allergic or otherwise sensitive to any of the metals in dental amalgam, you should not get amalgam fillings. You can discuss other treatment options with your dentist.
Source: FDA Dental Amalgam Fillings