Should you allow your children to have silver amalgam?
Decide it yourselves, here are some pertinent facts.
In this article:
- Why is this discussion important?
- Why the controversy?
- Who is right?
- My take on this subject
Filling started by some French, who brought it to the USA in 1930s. The filling, which has been named “silver filling”, has almost always been more than half mercury alloy. As per Wikipedia article within the first decade it was deprecated by the American society of dental Surgeons (ASDS) and was declared malpractice because of its mercury content, which was known to be harmful. In the past 30 years or so the controversy is because there are some resin composites are available to replace the old mercury filling but Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Dental Association (ADA) are not budging from their position of supporting silver mercury filling and not recommending the new resin compound. The controversy continues after 150 years, when many patients remains either ignorant or confused.
Why is it important to common citizens?
Population of the world is coming to nearly seven billion humans. Everyone has 32 teeth. Many of them get affected by caries. Many need root canals and dental filling. Depending upon available facilities to treat the patients there are an awful lot of people who will have filling in their lives. The filling normally stays in the tooth for the rest of the life. Mercury is known to emit vapors in people using chewing tobacco or gums or suffering from teeth grinding. The vapors are inhaled and are toxic to brain and kidney. Its placement in teeth is too close to brain and nerves for comfort to many and hence raising an outcry. It is also important to some extent that silver amalgam is durable, cheaper and easy and hence perhaps has FDA and ADA support.
Yet another issue is the disposal of mercury amalgam at its removal or death of person, which adds mercury load of sewerages and environment, which is a concern. Additionally there may be some other issues due to filling in patients, including allergies and immunotoxicity.
Who is right?
As per another Wikipedia article, there has been much review of literatures without any definitive conclusion, though it seems perhaps slightly leaning against the filling. The WHO reports that mercury from amalgam accounts for 5% of total mercury emissions and that when combined with waste mercury from laboratory and medical devices represents 53% of total mercury emissions. Use of mercury dental amalgam has been banned in Scandinavian countries. Other countries are looking into restricting its use. Many health problems are alleged to be caused by amalgam are chronic illnesses, oral lesions, birth defects, mental disorders, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and multiple sclerosis. Some dentists feel so strongly that they advise removal of mercury filling, which is advised to be done as per protocol, which is elaborate and expensive.
Some people feeling strongly about the mercury amalgam have sued FDA. In response in 2009 the FDA’s Ass. Comm. Randall Lutter and Charlie Brown negotiated and, for the first time, the FDA issued this frank and serious warning about amalgam on their website: “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.”
Dr Mercola is strong proponent of Consumers for Dental Choice founded by Charlie Brown, which are striving hard to take on FDA to ban mercury amalgam.
MY Take and Comments on the issue:
- Despite the fact that silver mercury amalgam is used for over 150 years, there has not been any definitive study and adverse outcome. This does not mean though that three are not any risks.
- I would personally not accept mercury amalgam to be used in my children or grand children because elf a long time that they have to live with it.
- Almost a third to half of dental surgeons in USA has already stopped using mercury amalgam. But you need to ask to confirm. My Dental surgeon Dr Ayeez Lalji of Royal Dental and of Anderson Dental Group tells me that he has not been using mercury amalgam since 1992.
- New composite resins are yet to be studies and its untoward effect, if any, needs to be brought to light.
- I would not have my mercury filling removed and changed to new resins for myself because I feel I am past that age to have its benefits and that I have had its adverse effects by now, which has not been overtly many.
- If there is any definitive indication of adverse effects of mercury amalgam, yes, I would have it removed or changed to resin.