The July 27 Focus article “Proposal killed to curb toxic dental fillings” continued the drumbeat of misleading information and served to unnecessarily alarm the public about a problem that doesn’t exist.
The alloy known as dental amalgam, or “silver fillings,” is a combination of metals including mercury, silver, copper and tin. It has been used to safely restore teeth in millions of Americans for more than 150 years. Claims that dental amalgam may be harmful are simply not supported by credible scientific studies.
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration supported amalgam’s safety and effectiveness and reaffirmed its position in 2015. The World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have done the same.
The Mayo Clinic, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Dental Association and the Autism Society of America are on record that there is no scientific evidence that dental amalgam negatively affects human health.
Amalgam fillings, safely used by generations of dentists, offer many advantages including cost, durability and suitability for repairing larger cavities.
There are alternative materials, such as gold and composite resin fillings, available, but the choice is best made by the dentist and patient.
Patients with amalgam fillings should have no concerns about safety, nor should they rush to have them removed. They are not at risk.
Scott W. Cashion
President, North Carolina Dental Society