Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

Mercury Fillings: They're Not Risky

Mercury Vapors Not Easily Absorbed by Body

Why Mercury Fillings Are Safe

Mercury amalgam fillings are "100% safe," says J. Rodway Mackert, DMD, PhD, professor of dental materials at the School of Dentistry of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Mackert is a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

In fact, the World Health Organization, the Alzheimer's Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have all issued statements with a similar message, Mackert tells WebMD.

"Dental amalgam restorations are considered safe," says a WHO consensus statement. In rare instances, there is an allergic reaction to the filling, the statement notes. However, "the small amount of mercury released from amalgam restorations, especially during placement and removal, has not been shown to cause any other adverse health effects."

"According to the best available scientific evidence, there is no relationship between silver dental fillings and Alzheimer's," says the Alzheimer's Association web site.

"There is no scientific evidence to connect the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) with mercury-based dental fillings," says the National Multiple Sclerosis Society web site. "Poisoning with heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, or manganese, can damage the nervous system and produce symptoms, such as tremor or weakness, similar to those seen in MS. However, the underlying mechanism of nerve damage is different from MS, as is the pattern of illness caused by heavy metal poisoning."

The Science

In creating amalgam fillings, mercury is chemically combined with silver, Mackert explains. It's the chemical reaction between powdered silver and tin -- and liquid mercury -- that creates a material stable and safe enough for the human mouth.

"When liquid mercury is combined with silver, the chemical reaction reduces the amount of mercury that is released by nearly 1 million-fold," Mackert tells WebMD. "That's why it can be used in fillings."

Questions about mercury fillings began surfacing in 1979, when technology became available to measure the mercury vapor that the fillings emitted, he explains. "When we could measure the vapor, we found it wasn't zero, but it was a very small number. That was the concern. People began looking at how much vapor is released and the effects."

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm