The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a dental advisory panel to review “scientific issues that may affect the regulation of dental amalgam. The panel meeting will focus particularly on the potential risk to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, fetuses and young children”.
In 2009 the FDA concluded that dental amalgam was a safe and effective restorative treatment and issued a final rule that reclassified dental mercury and amalgam components for regulatory purposes. Since that ruling the FDA has received several petitions raising issues relating to the final rule.
This additional review is long overdue. Amalgam fillings, which are half mercury, were created about 200 years ago as a cheap alternative to gold and before the scientific knowledge of the dangers of mercury. The World Health Organization believes there is no safe level of mercury and acknowledges that its vapors can cause neurological damage. Mercury exposure causes kidney damage, fetal damage and developmental disorders in children.
Several nations worldwide have banned the use of dental amalgam because of safety issues and the environmental risks associated with the mercury. Perhaps the United States will join these nations in protecting its environment and its citizens.
There are many safer and more attractive alternatives for dental fillings today. Composite resins are tooth colored fillings that take longer to place than dental amalgam but are far superior type of restoration. Composite restorations look better from a cosmetic standpoint and, because they don’t react to temperature changes the way amalgam does, they last much longer without breaking down or cracking.
If the thought of mercury in your dental fillings is bothering you please contact our Gahanna, Ohio office at 614-454-3488 to discuss your options for becoming mercury free!