The Debate Over Mercury in Dental Fillings
The debate over the safety of mercury in dental fillings shows no sign of quieting down.
Who Is Debating?
Koss and others contend that the debate over mercury in fillings is being
run -- and won -- by dentists, but instead should actually be led by
neurologists. They point to a vested economic interest of the ADA in the
Those who oppose mercury in fillings also say there is research suggesting
that prenatal mercury exposure from fillings has been equated with epidemic
levels of childhood learning disabilities, neurological illnesses, and autism.
They also say that exposure has been linked to adult illnesses including MS,
lupus, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and autoimmune,
gastrointestinal, and mental illness.
According to the FDA and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health
Service (USPHS) who continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in
dental restorations (fillings), no valid scientific evidence has shown that
amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in the rare
case of allergy.
Many alternatives to silver fillings exist.
"The wave of the future, at least cosmetically speaking, is porcelain
fillings," Davis says. "I have placed porcelain fillings that look so
real that other dentists have ground them out and put silver fillings in there.
They can be so lifelike it's very difficult to tell if there is a filling in
Plus, porcelain can't decay, he adds. Porcelain fillings are, however, more
expensive and less durable then their amalgam counterparts.
Another option is a resin, which mixes plastic and fine glass particles.
"While resins can fill a hole, they don't hold up over time, but they are
great for small cavities where you can remove the decay and replace minor