There has been concern and debate about potential / possible (non-allergic-) negative health effects from dental amalgam-fillings. At least several thousand scientific reports and discussion articles in the field of mercury / biology / (health) and several hundred about amalgam / biology / (health) have been produced. The following seems to be consensus (consensus need NOT to be the final truth, but rather what is non-controversial) at present:
- If you do not have any illness / symptoms or other reasons to suspect that you have or will get problems from your amalgam-fillings you are not recommended to have your amalgam-fillings exchanged (NIH 1992) (because of C-G in section 5.2). It seems as if the great majority of the population belongs to this group.
- The question which material to choose the next time an amalgam-filling needs to be replaced or when there is need for a new filling depends on your own decisions and what the dentist find possible / recommendable in that specific tooth cavity. Not one single filling material is best in every situation / from every point of view and no filling material is bio-compatibility-tested the same way medical drugs are. Do you want the cheapest filling, the one lasting longest time, the most aesthetic, the most tooth conservative, the one you / your dentist believe is most biocompatible...? You and your dentist will have to come to an agreement in this choice.
- If you have allergic and / or local oral symptoms from your amalgam-fillings, diagnosed by a physician and / (or) a dentist, it is usually recommended that you exchange these for a material you can tolerate. A small minority of the population seems to belong to this group.
- If you have an illness / a multi-symtomatic syndrome and suspect that this is (at least partly) because of your dental amalgam-fillings, you should know that it is an ongoing debate whether such a thing as a (non-allergic-) amalgam-related illness exists or not. Contradictory opinions (see for example: Lichtenberg 1993, Lindberg 1994), both claiming to be the truth, are expressed. Meanwhile science has not (yet) found a definite answer to this question ( DHHS 1993 pages 3-4, WHO 1991p 100-102). SIFO (1993) reports that about 4 percent of the Swedish adult population claims to have/had or believes that they have/had negative health effects from their dental amalgam fillings.
- The use of amalgam as a dental filling material is expected to decrease, at least in western world countries and maybe even banned in some countries. These are some of the (proposed) reasons to why:
And indeed, the use of amalgam-fillings is decreasing in USA ( DHHS 1993, NIH 1992 ), Sweden and possibly several other countries too.
- concern about the environmental mercury-pollution
- development and improvement of different tooth-coloured dental filling materials (DHHS 1993).
- the non-aesthetic appearance of amalgam.
- when untreated carious lesions needs to be treated by filling therapy, the preparation of a cavity for insertion of an amalgam-filling often means loss of more healthy tooth-substance than if composite or glass ionomer cement were to be used instead ( DHHS 1993 pages I -17 and I - 21).
- at least in USA ( DHHS 1993, NIH 1992 ) and Sweden: a decreased caries frequency.
- amalgam dental fillings leak mercury to such an extent that it is the biggest source of mercury (WHO 1991), on a group level, in the population and is therefore, from a toxicological point of view, an unsuitable / non-desirable dental filling material, even though it has yet to be proven that this mercury-leakage is harmful in other than individuals allergic to mercury / amalgam.
- -the concern about the safety / lack of safety that some / many patients feel. SIFO (1993) reports that about 30 percent of the Swedish adult population have thought of, started or completed amalgam-removal, and that two thirds of the adult Swedish population believes that it is a disadvantage to have ones teeth restored with amalgam when there is need for an restoration. Further on, over 43 percent of the Swedish adult population reported that they thought dental restorations with amalgam should be banned now and an additional 33 % that it should be banned within a five-year period (SIFO 1993).
As science can not tell for sure, what should an individual do, who has:
- multiple symptoms, of which many have been described in mercury poisoning,
- been thoroughly examined, for all of his / her, symptoms by physicians (and dentists) who did not find any (untreated) differential-diagnose,
- connection in time between amalgam-work and symptoms,
- been (fairly) convinced that she / he has an amalgam-related illness ???
If such an individual wants to try to exchange his / here amalgam-fillings because he / she finds it possible / probable that he / she has a (non-allergic-) amalgam-related illness, then it seems advisable to study at least what:
- pro-amalgamists say,
- anti-amalgamists say,
- dentists / physicians and their organisations say,
- health authorities say
and then to try to find something that all parties recommend or at least accept as a functional / non-harmful solution. To read the scientific literature in the field is time-consuming.
Also make sure to read these books:
Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings...Hazardous to Your Health! and Mercury Detoxification by Tom McGuire