Do I need to have my amalgam fillings removed?
We do not use Amalgam in our practice! We however are often asked questions about amalgam fillings from our patients, who want to know if they need to have their amalgam fillings removed and replaced. We would like to provide our patients with more information about amalgam and what the Australian Dental Association advises.
The Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) primary objectives are to encourage the improvement of the oral and general health of the public, promote the ethics, art and science of dentistry and support members to provide safe, high quality, professional oral care. The ADA has released a policy statement (6.18) to communicate their position on dental amalgam.
What is Dental Amalgam?
Dental amalgam, often referred to as a silver filling due to their silver-like appearance, is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy.
Dental amalgam has been used as a dental restorative material for more than 150 years. It has proved to be a durable, safe and effective material which has been the subject of extensive research over this time. i
What does the ADA policy say?
Dental amalgam releases very small amounts (nanograms1) of mercury, some of which is absorbed by the body;
- There is no evidence to support an association between the presence of amalgam restorations and chronic degenerative diseases, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, cognitive function, adverse pregnancy outcomes or any non-specific symptoms;
- Local hypersensitivity reactions can occur on the mucosa adjacent to amalgam restorations, but are extremely rare and usually resolved on removal of the amalgam;
- Further research into the possible adverse effects of dental amalgam is desirable; and
- Alternatives to amalgam may have adverse effects.
- There is no evidence that replacement of sound amalgam fillings by alternative materials, without clinical indication, produces a better health outcome for patients.
- Dental amalgam restorations should not be removed and replaced with alternative restorative materials for non-specific or perceived health complaints ii
At Byron Family Dental Care, we do not use Amalgam, we use Composite Resin for all of our direct fillings. As per the ADA policy, you do not need to remove and replace Amalgam fillings unless there is a specific dental reason to do so. However you may choose to have them removed, in which case you will be informed of any risks associated with doing so.
i Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENHR) http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_016.pdf. Accessed 2016-10-16
ii Policy Statement 6.18 – Safety of Dental Amalgam, Australian Dental Association, November, 2020