The press have recently picked up on a change in attitude towards mercury fillings in the USA and, as ever, it has been poorly reported. The “change” that has taken place in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is now carrying out an “urgent” review and MAY consider banning amalgam fillings in the future. The concern relates to the possible neurotoxic effects on the nervous system of developing children and foetuses and is part of a 2 year review of current best knowledge. The findings were due in July 2008 so there may be some new evidence requiring interpretation. The decision is whether dental amalgam should be reclassified from a class 1medical device (which is subject to general controls only) or to a Class 2 device, which means it poses something of a risk and for which general controls are not enough to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness and, as such, must be subject to certain “special controls”. Clearly this is a long way short of an out right ban, but when did the British press let the facts get in the way of a good story?
The stance of the American Dental Association and British Dental Association remains the same that “amalgam fillings are a safe, durable and affordable cavity choice for dental patients that do not pose a health risk. (Sadly the BDA information is not for general viewing so I cannot share it with you – very disappointing).
At StoneRock our approach is, as ever, one of patient choice. For many years I have seen the demand for alternative filling choice rise almost exponentially and so provide very few amalgam fillings (less than one a month). My current understanding is that there is no proven health risk and in Britain alone 8 million amalgam fillings are placed annually with no evidence linking them to any specific disease or disorder. That said, I believe that decisions in these matters are far more emotional than scientific and if patients don’t feel comfortable having them then I will happily provide an alternative. (The same is true of every dentist within StoneRock.)
It is shame that such confusion exists over, what must be one of the most tested substances ever to be used in the human body but if any patient of StoneRock has concerns over their amalgam fillings please do not hesitate to contact the practice on 01580 752202 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.