For years, the use of dental amalgam fillings has been under fire after some people have seemed to be harmed by their mercury fillings while others appear to be fine. Several studies have been conducted with inconsistent results, leading many industry experts to deem their use safe. The source of this discrepancy may have been identified though in a new study recently published by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), which is a nonprofit health organization whose mission is to eliminate mercury use in dentistry. The report was published in the February issue of the journal, Biometals and reported on in a Dental Tribune article.
According to IAOMT, dental amalgam contains up to 50% mercury, which were once thought to be harmless; however health authorities around the globe have acknowledged that they release low levels of mercury vapor into the body. Some animal and human trials have shown that the mercury vapor can be rapidly absorbed into the body, concentrating in some organs, and even transferring to breast milk. But why is it that some people seem affected while others aren’t? According to the new study, it appears that some individuals are susceptible to mercury toxicity due to various genes. The report continues to state that over the last 10 years, at least six common genetic variants have been identified to increase susceptibility to mercury toxicity.
Global efforts to phase out the use of mercury dental amalgam are underway. In fact, Norway and Sweden have already banned the use of dental amalgam, while Germany and Canada advise pregnant females and children to avoid their use. In July of 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a regulation in which it reclassified the mercury component of dental amalgam from Class 1: low risk to Class 2: moderate risk. The American Dental Association (ADA) responded by saying, “Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness…the scientific evidence supports that amalgam is a valuable, viable, and safe choice for dental patients.” At Miami Dental Sedation Spa, Dr. Luis Sanchez has not placed any amalgam fillings in over a decade, and has actually had patients request the replacement of such fillings. To read more about his expert opinion on the subject, check out Dr. Sanchez’s article, “Are Your Amalgam Fillings a Health Risk?”