Amalgam is a common silver-colored material used to fill cavities. Amalgams contain a toxic substance called mercury which is mixed with other metals such as, silver, copper, tin and zinc to form a stable alloy which dentists have used for over 100 years to fill and preserve decayed teeth. Over the past several years, concerns have been raised about the safety of amalgams and a possible link to a number of illnesses/diseases such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
In 2006, several large scale studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that amalgam fillings were safe. The American Dental Association (ADA) and FDA have also found amalgam fillings to be safe and no link between mercury-based fillings and disease.
From the fda.gov website:
FDA has reviewed the best available scientific evidence to determine whether the low levels of mercury vapor associated with dental amalgam fillings are a cause for concern. Based on this evidence, FDA considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults and children ages 6 and above. The amount of mercury measured in the bodies of people with dental amalgam fillings is well below levels associated with adverse health effects. Even in adults and children ages 6 and above who have fifteen or more amalgam surfaces, mercury exposure due to dental amalgam fillings has been found to be far below the lowest levels associated with harm. Clinical studies in adults and children ages 6 and above have also found no link between dental amalgam fillings and health problems.
There are advantages to amalgam fillings over composite resin or “white” fillings. Amalgam fillings tend to last longer than resin-based fillings and they cost less as well. Because they consider it a cosmetic choice, unless the cavity is on a front tooth, most insurance companies will not fully reimburse for a resin-based filling.
** Island Ohana Dental offers both composite and amalgam fillings. Patients are
given the choice with and advised on treatment by our doctors.