Many dentists recommend getting a dental filling to prevent further damage due to cavities. These fillings can help save the tooth structure and relieve dental pain. Meanwhile, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned against a particular type of tooth filling.
According to the FDA, the filling consisting of mercury can become toxic for some patients. This filling called dental amalgam can cause health issues among some individuals. This group of people is those with sensitivity to the element mercury. However, dental amalgam is not composed solely of mercury.
This filling consists of four major components including mercury, copper, silver, and tin. Previously, the American Dental Association claimed that dental amalgam is safe to use. FDA also supported this statement in the previous years. Meanwhile, some entities also asked for dental filling that does not contain the element mercury.
FDA recently addressed the situation and said that the material is not toxic to most of the people. But everyone can not use this particular dental filling due to hypersensitivity issues. These include women who are pregnant or wanting to get pregnant. Also, women nursing for younger children should avoid dental amalgam.
They also recommend people with kidney disease to avoid this filling material. People who have neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis should also avoid this filling due to the presence of mercury.
Dental amalgam has several properties that make it suitable for a long lasting filling. It is comparatively cheap, has good durability and strength, and widely available. The drawback to this material is the presence of mercury that can release over time in the form of vapors.
The filling can release a different amount of mercury vapors depending on various reasons. People who have the habit of grinding teeth can release ore vapors from the filling. Also, it depends on how long ago a person got that filling. The material can release more vapors depending on time.
According to the FDA, most of the people are safe from mercury exposure as it can not harm them. But some people have mercury sensitivity and it can become toxic for them. There is not enough evidence to show the risk it poses to this particular group of people.
FDA recommends these particular individuals to talk to the dentist about their condition. They can get alternatives to dental amalgam. This includes glass cement, resin, and other filling materials.
The FDA also suggests people keep their filling intact if they are one of those people and already got the dental amalgam. The problem is that the removal of this dental filling might lead to an exposure of vapors in these people. This can in turn do more damage than good due to the release of mercury.
Even though the FDA updated the recommendation, ADA decided to keep their stance. According to ADA, the particular filling is safe to use and effective with good durability. Also, ADA mentioned that the FDA did not update the guidelines depending on new research. Hence, old evidence shows that this dental filling is still safe to use.