Dental amalgam replacement has long been a controversial subject. We do not believe that it is our role as dentists to dictate treatment to our patients so the information in our web site about amalgam replacement is to help you consider the issue and reach the right decisions for your own health. Generally we advise that anyone considering this topic should research it thoroughly and then if they wish, proceed carefully after being made fully aware of the pros and cons of choosing alternatives to amalgam for fillings on back teeth.
Dental Amalgam is made by vigorously mixing together liquid Mercury, with a powder of Silver, Tin and Copper. There have been doubts expressed by many people over the safety of dental amalgam for a long time. Health concerns about dental amalgam relate to the fact that mercury has been demonstrated to have toxic effects on living tissue. In particular nerve (neural) tissue.
The debate revolves around whether the mercury or mercury compounds released from dental amalgams are of a type / at a level high enough to cause health problems or toxicity in healthy adults.
Beyond this there are significant environmental concerns regarding mercury vapour release during preparation of amalgam and from the waste amalgam removed by dentists or indeed upon the cremation of deceased individuals. Sweden, Norway and Denmark have already chosen to use alternatives to mercury bases restorations as their mainstays of treatment, but it was primarily environmental concerns that lead to the change in legislation rather than any identifiable health concerns.
There is a wealth of information available on the risks and benefits of amalgam and the 2 sides of the debate both defend their positions vigorously. Of the available information much of it is anecdotal. However, there are many well executed studies that appear to back the safety of amalgam in use. There are also some studies that indicate the material may be problematic and damaging to our health.
As a practice we do not see it as our role to recommend comprehensive and total amalgam removal and replacement to prevent or treat health disorders. We do however respect an individual’s right to choose and will do our very best to help you gather all of the information that you need to make an informed choice on this subject and support you through treatment. If dental amalgams are of concern to you, often it is best to take a measured and two pronged approach to the subject.
- Step 1. resolve not to have more mercury based amalgam fillings placed
- Step 2. as existing metal fillings come up for replacement swap them for metal free alternatives.
Ultimately should you require treatment, we respect your right to choose the most appropriate materials for your body. We are committed to providing quality dental care in line with best practice and have spent time researching the recommended protocols for the removal and replacement of dental amalgams. We offer a full range of mercury free dentistry and metal free dentistry and when replacing dental amalgams we are able to use the amalgam removal protocols.
Here are a few links to additional sources of information that cover both sides of the debate
- American Dental Association Statement on Dental Amalgam
- The British Dental Association website information on Amalgam
- International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology The Case Against Amalgam PDF
- University of Calgary mini film on the effect of mercury on neural tissue