Dental Amalgam Controversy

The dental amalgam controversy refers to the conflicting views over the use of amalgam as a filling material mainly because it contains the element mercury. Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings leach mercury into the mouth, but studies vary widely in the amount and whether such amount presents significant health risks. Estimations run from 1-3 micrograms (µg) per day (FDA) up to 27 µg/day (Patterson). The effects of that amount of exposure is also disputed,. The use of mercury in dental fillings is approved in most countries. Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have banned the use of mercury in dental amalgams over environmental concerns. Elsewhere in the world, unused dental amalgam after a treatment is subject to strict disposal protocols, again for possible environmental reasons rather than over fears of direct toxicity to humans.

Those who advocate the use of amalgam point out that it is durable, relatively inexpensive, and easy to use. On average, resin composites last only half as long as dental amalgam (although modern composites are improving in strength) and dental porcelain is much more expensive. However, the gap between amalgam and composites may be closing. Further, concerns have been raised about the endocrine disrupting (in particular, estrogen-mimicking) effects of plastic chemicals such as Bisphenol A used in composite resins. Arguably, there is more credible evidence of a possible subclinical toxic effect of composite resins compared to dental amalgam. The development of composite is by far more related to patients demand for tooth colored restorations for aesthetic concerns rather than for fears over the mercury content of the metal.

In addition to health and ethics issues, opponents to dental amalgam fillings point to the negative externalities of water contamination and environmental damage of mercury. This concern is especially worrisome since its use and disposal by dentists goes largely unregulated in many places, including the United States. The WHO reports that mercury from amalgam and laboratory devices accounts for 53% of total mercury emissions. Separators may dramatically decrease the release of mercury into the public sewer system, where dental amalgams contribute one-third of the mercury waste, but they are not required by some states in the United States.

Read more about Dental Amalgam Controversy:  Ethics and Awareness, Exposure, Health Effects, Environmental Impact, Available Alternatives, Notable Critics of Amalgam Fillings, History of Amalgam in The USA, Regulation By Country

Other articles related to "dental amalgam controversy, dental amalgam, amalgams, amalgam, dental":

Dental Amalgam Controversy - Regulation By Country - United States
... to ensure proper management of mercury-containing dental amalgam ... In the United States, amalgams are classified as a "device," not a "substance," by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ... Code of Federal Regulations, amalgams are a prosthetic device Amalgam Alloy, (a) Identification ...
Consumers For Dental Choice - Dental Amalgam Controversy
... of CDC include educating the public about the health and environmental dangers of mercury dental fillings, and ensuring more effective government oversight of amalgams used in dentistry ... At the heart of the CDC's involvement in the dental amalgam controversy is the group's concern that mercury amalgam is highly dangerous before being put in the mouth, and is again considered hazardous waste ... Dentists have been filling dental cavities with amalgams since the middle of the nineteenth century, and most dental associations and government agencies agree that the metallic ...

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