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Amalgam (silver fillings)

About twice a year, a patient will either call me personally or bring up the subject while in for their cleaning- What do I think about amalgams? It happened again last night. A patient had heard or read about the dangers of dental amalgam and its toxic component; mercury.

My response remains the same as it has for the past twenty years. That is primarily because the American Dental Association (ADA) has done extensive and exhaustive research on this controversial topic for close to sixty years. I went to school in the early ‘90s when the anti-amalgam crusade was at its peak. Seemingly on a weekly basis, our professors were forced to defend something that had become a tenant of the modern dental curriculum. As students, we couldn’t help but analyze the facts and dissect them in a Socratic fashion.

The ADA’s statement on Amalgam is as follows: “Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness. Depending on treatment needs, it is one material available to dentists and patients when considering restorative options”

There are dentists in our area that purport to have “mercury-free” offices or offer services which include “toxicity testing” of hair samples. Subsequently, they present you with an estimate for the several thousand dollars it will cost to “cleanse” you of these time bombs that have served many of us very well for decades. I say that it is McCarthyism and plays on the general public’s fears of the unknown. The truth about amalgam is that is continues to be as safe as any other dental material when used judiciously and with care. We welcome everyone to be involved in the choice as to which dental material is used for their fillings. We will continue to offer amalgam if we feel that it is the best choice for a particular location. However, it is your mouth and ultimately your choice! On July 28th, the FDA completed yet another comprehensive study and their opinion has not changed. Please review this new information by visiting or if you would like information about restoration choices you may visit

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