Amalgam Filling FAQs

dental health

Are amalgam fillings safe?

For almost as long as they have been in use in the Western world, people have questioned whether mercury amalgam fillings are safe. Perhaps with good cause – at least initially – since amalgam was mixed and applied somewhat primitively when it was first used.

Now, with much improved formulae and dentistry techniques, dental amalgam is recognised as safe by numerous health organisations worldwide. Extensive scientific research has been conducted to examine the potential health problems stemming from dental amalgam, but no

Are mercury fillings safe?

Leading health organisations approve the use of dental amalgam.
The World Dental Federation (FDI) represents over 1 million dentists in nearly 130 countries. “The current weight of evidence is that contemporary dental restorative materials, including dental amalgam, are considered to be safe and effective,” reads a statement on their website, released in conjunction with the World Health Organization.

The NHS, Oral Health Foundation and British Dental Association all take a similar stance. The USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults and children ages 6 and above” based on the best available scientific evidence.

The only countries that have banned the use of dental amalgam outright are Norway and Sweden. In both cases, a wide range of mercury-based products were phased out for environmental reasons.

A study published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in 2016 examined various side effects experienced by patients with amalgam vs. composite fillings.

The research found that although patients with amalgam fillings had slightly higher levels of mercury in their urine after both five and seven years than those with composite, there were no significant differences in kidney function, neurological function, and a range of other measures.

“Amalgam poisoning” claims
So why do some people still claim that silver tooth fillings have a detrimental effect on people’s health? You don’t have to look far online to find long lists of supposed amalgam tooth filling side effects, including serious neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

The case against metal fillings usually centres around one or more of the following:

  • Allergic reactions to mercury fillings
  • Mercury poisoning from tooth fillings (leading to many different side effects)
  • Environmental contamination from mercury in amalgam
  • So let’s explore each of these issues in more detail.

Can you be allergic to amalgam fillings?

Go back to your dentist if you think you’ve had an allergic reaction.
In short, yes. It’s estimated that between 1% and 3% of the population experience sensitivity to one of the metals present in dental amalgam, resulting in an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of an amalgam filling allergy usually present as a rash, inflammation, burning or oral lesions near the filling site, which appears as white patches. Patients may also experience itching or hives on other parts of their bodies.

After the filling is removed and replaced with another material, these side effects should disappear.

If you experience any of these symptoms or find yourself in severe pain after an amalgam filling, contact your dentist straight away.


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