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The Great Amalgam Debate


The dental amalgam controversy accredit to the contrasting views over the use of amalgam as a filling material mainly because it contains the element mercury. Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings seep mercury into the mouth, but studies vary widely in the amount and whether such amount presents significant health risks.

For over a century, dentists have been using mercury/amalgam alloys as filling for cavities. Amalgam restorations (silver fillings) consist of a combination of the metals – silver, tin, copper, and zinc. They also contain mercury (and some of the older amalgam restoration contain considerable amounts of mercury). The fact that amalgam is economical, strong, and considerably effortless for the dentist to work with in your mouth, makes it the most widely-used restorative material in the world today. However, the amount of mercury content found in amalgam, combined with the health and ethics issues, has been the subject of debate within the dental community for more than 150 years.

It is a known fact in the medical and dental field for centuries that mercury is highly toxic. It is proven that even just the smallest amount of mercury in a human body can damage cells. A growing group of medical and dental professionals strongly believe that mercury, when introduced into the human body does, in fact, produce a long list of negative health effects, such as: neurotoxicity, renal (kidney) dysfunction, birth defects, reduced ability to fight illness and disease, and compromised general health. On the other hand, some experts still say that there is no cause for alarm over the health-related effects of mercury.

Even low-level exposure to mercury has been proven to produce such symptoms as anxiety, fatigue, stress, intolerance, headache, and depression. In 1984, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology was conceived to research the safety of amalgam restorations. Today, although the US Pulic Health Service insists that there is no link between amalgams and health problems, a growing number of scientific studies attest that amalgam can and does pose a health peril to patients.

Your comfort and safety are always our maximum priority here at RB Dental. As a result of the ongoing health controversy surrounding the use of mercury in amalgam fillings, our office policy will be to use only ceramic, porcelain or composite restorations that are stronger, better looking and environmentally friendly, when your restorations are being replaced due to decay, fracture or ill fitting restorations.

RB Dental has taken additional, very important, extra steps to minimize your exposure to mercury vapor during removal of old amalgam fillings. We warrant to remove 99.5% of the total mercury from the dental office waste water and to protect the environment of the local community with safe packaging and recycling of silver amalgams that has been replaced with metal-free restorations.