Educational materials provided by California Dental Association.
Copyright © California Dental Association.
AMALGAM IS A SAFE, DURABLE FILLING MATERIAL
Dental amalgam is considered a safe, long-lasting, and versatile tooth restorative material that has been in use for more than 150 years and has restored the teeth of more than 100 million Americans.
Dental amalgam contains a mixture of metals such as mercury, silver, copper, and tin, which chemically bind together into a hard, stable and safe substance. Concern about amalgam’s mercury content is unfounded. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.
A comparison of dental amalgam to other restorative materials can be found in the California Dental Materials Fact Sheet.
WHAT DO HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHERS SAY ABOUT AMALGAM?
The California Dental Association looks to the federal and international public health agencies to determine the safety of all products used in the practice of dentistry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Public Health Service, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services all have found dental amalgam to be a safe and effective dental restorative material. These public health organizations continue to review and monitor the literature and research to ensure the safety of the public.
“According to the best available scientific evidence, there is no relationship between silver dental fillings and Alzheimer’s. . .” Alzheimer’s Association Web site
American Academy of Pediatrics
Although dental amalgams are a source of mercury exposure and are associated with slightly higher urinary mercury excretion, there is no scientific evidence of any measurable clinical toxic effects other than rare hypersensitivity reactions. An expert panel for the National Institutes of Health has concluded that existing evidence indicates dental amalgams do not pose a health risk and should not be replaced merely to decrease mercury exposure.
Pediatrics, Vol. 108, No. 1, July 2001, pp. 197-205. American Academy of Pediatrics Web site
Autism Society of America
There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in autistic versus non-autistic children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics, inherited genetic coding, and medical problems.
Autism Society of America Web site
''As far as we know in this well-studied area, your silver amalgam fillings are doing you no harm. If you need new fillings for your back teeth, amalgams remain the cheapest, most durable choice.''
Consumer Reports on Health, “Don’t Replace Sound Dental Restorations,” Irwin Mandel, D.D.S., June 2001.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
''FDA and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has ever shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations.''
FDA Consumer Update, December 31, 2002.
Life Sciences Research Office
In December 2004, the third comprehensive review in 12 years of the safety of dental amalgam was completed by the Life Sciences Research Office (LRSO) at the request of the federal Trans-agency Working Group on the Health Effects of Dental Amalgam. This ad hoc body was created in 1994 and is composed of representatives from the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer of the Public Health Service. The final report, titled “Review and Analysis of the Literature on the Potential Adverse Health Effects of Dental Amalgam,” concluded that there is insufficient evidence to draw a link between serious adverse health consequences and dental amalgam. This scientific body has been rendering independent scientific opinions and evaluations for nearly half a century, and this report summarized a massive evaluation of peer-reviewed amalgam literature from 1996 to 2003. It can be obtained through www.lsro.org.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
There is no scientific evidence to connect the development of MS or other neurological diseases with dental fillings containing mercury.
National MS Society Web site
New England Journal of Medicine
“Patients who have questions about the potential relation between mercury and degenerative diseases can be assured that the available evidence shows no connection.”
The Toxicology of Mercury — Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
Thomas W. Clarkson, Ph.D., Laszlo Magos, M.D., and Gary J. Myers, N Engl J Med 2003; 349:1731-1737, Oct 30, 2003
U.S. Public Health Service and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
''As an institute, we have participated in department reviews and there’s an ongoing process…And at this point in time no new evidence has come up to change our view from the 1990s that evidence does not warrant discontinuing use of dental amalgam.”
Dr. Dushanka Kleinman, deputy director, NIDCR and chief dental officer, U.S. Public Health Service, July 2001.
World Health Organization and World Dental Federation
“No controlled studies have been published demonstrating systemic adverse health effects from amalgam restorations. Amalgam restorations are durable and cost-effective; they are, however, not tooth-colored.”
Consensus statement, September 1997
CDA believes that dental amalgam is a valuable and safe choice for dental patients and encourages and supports continued research and constructive dialogue with organizations and individuals that further public health and environmental quality goals.
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