FDA Advises Against Mercury Dental Fillings in High-Risk Groups

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against the use of dental amalgam that contains mercury for certain groups of people who may be at high risk for potentially harmful health effects as a result of mercury being released from the fillings.

These groups are pregnant women and their developing fetuses; women who are planning to become pregnant; nursing women and their newborns and infants; children, especially those younger than 6 years of age; people with preexisting neurologic disease, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease; people with impaired kidney function; and those who are known to have heightened sensitivity to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

Dental amalgam releases small amounts of mercury vapor over time.

Although most evidence suggests that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam does not have negative health effects in the general population, “little to no information” is known about

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FDA warns popular dental amalgam fillings could cause health problems for some patients

The US Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday that silver dental fillings, known as dental amalgam, may cause health problems for some high-risk groups.



a close up of a person: The FDA warned Thursday that dental amalgam filling may cause health issues for some high-risk groups.


© David Tadevosian/Shutterstock
The FDA warned Thursday that dental amalgam filling may cause health issues for some high-risk groups.

The updated FDA guidance said the filling material could lead to health issues for those with a hypersensitivity to mercury.

Dental amalgam fillings are a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. The FDA and American Dental Association have said for years the material is safe, but advocates have called for a filling material that doesn’t contain mercury since the 1970s.

The FDA’s updated recommendations said dental amalgam is safe for most, but there are some who should avoid the material, including pregnant women and their developing fetuses; women who plan to become pregnant; women who are nursing; children, especially those that are under the age

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FDA issues warning about dental fillings that might pose health risks

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) threw up the caution flag for people with silver dental fillings — referred to as “dental amalgam.” The agency warned that those particular fillings have been shown to cause health problems for some high-risk groups such as pregnant women and those with hypersensitivity to mercury.

When the FDA uses the term amalgam, it’s referring to fillings that are a mixture of copper, mercury, silver, and tin. The inclusion of mercury has been a sore point for years for some dental professionals, but both the FDA and the American Dental Association (ADA) were on record as saying the amalgam was safe.

It’s taken almost 10 years for the FDA to raise its hand about the adverse effects of mercury in dental fillings. Finally, in December 2019, its immunology advisory committee revisited the situation and new guidance was created.

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