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Sunday 27th May 2018

Dental amalgam safe

21st April 2006

21042006_child_&_dentist.jpgIn the long-running controversy over the use of dental amalgam extensive studies in the US and in Europe, involving a total of over 1,000 children have shown that it causes no adverse effects to either mind or body reports the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

The two studies, which were sponsored by the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, found that although children with amalgam-filled teeth had slightly elevated levels of mercury in their urine, they showed no sign of mercury poisoning after several years of monitoring. The researchers looked for brain and kidney damage, as these organs are known to be especially sensitive to mercury.

The controversy goes back 150 years: dentists have been using amalgam, metallic mercury mixed with silver, copper, zinc and sundry other metals, to fill cavities for at least that long. The fillings, however, are known to release mercury vapour, and have raised concerns about low- level mercury poisoning, the symptoms of which include kidney failure and memory loss.

Sonja McKinlay, principal investigator for the US study said that the findings should be reassuring for parents, children and dental professionals.

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