Who Should Never Use Dental Amalgam Explained by the Sacramento Dentistry Group

Dental amalgam may contain mercury, but it is still considered safe by both the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration. Nevertheless, there are patients that the Sacramento Dentistry Group does not consider good candidates for use of dental amalgam.

Dental amalgam is being used less and less by dentists, chiefly due to health concerns over one of its primary components, elemental mercury. Although the Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association both agree that dental amalgam is safe for use, newer dentists and patients prefer composite fillings that match the color of the tooth, partly for cosmetic reasons. The Sacramento Dentistry Group is among these dental practices, and generally does not use mercury for patient restorations. Nevertheless, there are specific circumstances when this material is advised, simply due to its strength and durability. Yet, there are some patients that should never receive amalgam fillings.

Amalgam has been in use for about 150 years. Tellingly, it has not caused any worldwide health epidemics from mercury use. During most of its history, it was assumed that the mercury was made inert by its combination with the primary components silver, copper, and tin (and other components, like indium, zinc and palladium). Improved research techniques revealed, however, that mercury vapor is released in extremely small quantities from dental restorations containing it. The amount released as vapor is actually less than that absorbed or consumed from the environment at large, so health organizations continue to allow its use in dental work.

For some people, however, any additional exposure to mercury is not recommended. This includes the following groups:

  • Pregnant women should not receive amalgam fillings, using only composite or ionomer fillings instead. Mercury does cross the placenta, thus the concern in any quantity.
  • Children aged six and under should not use amalgam, due to their small size. Their teeth also naturally fall out, so they do not require the durability amalgam provides.
  • People who eat large amounts of seafood should not use amalgam, since they already consume considerable amounts of environmental mercury due to bioaccumulation in fish.
  • Industry workers exposed to mercury on a regular basis should not use amalgam.
  • Patients allergic to any of the components of dental amalgam should obviously use composites instead.

If you fit any of these categories, make sure to inform your dentist before receiving any restoration to repair a cavity. For more information about fillings and when to replace them, contact the Sacramento Dentistry Group via their website or by calling 916-538-6900.

Source: Sacramento Dentistry Group