Amalgam Archives - The Wealthy Dentist

Mercury Safety Is Different from Amalgam Safety

Mercury safety: Amalgam issues divide dentistsMercury safe dentistry seems like a good idea for everyone, so I wasn’t expecting so much controversy from Dr. Tom McGuire’s article on the topic (read the article). Though dentists have lots to say about the consumer safety of amalgam fillings, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

We’re just talking about protecting dentists, staff and patients from mercury exposure during amalgam removals. Doesn’t that seem like something everyone can agree is important, regardless of whether one is pro-or anti-amalgam?

I’d like to address some of the points readers raised about Dr. McGuire’s article.

Since when is anyone who wants to promote his moneymaking ‘seminar’ considered to be ‘a leading authority?’On what grounds?Is he an established professor at an accredited dental school? In which department? Sheesh, if I call myself an ‘expert toxicologist’ six times before lunch, does that make me one?”
– Bill C., DDS

I think it’s safe to call someone “a leading authority” when they’re authored multiple books on the subject and founded a professional association, like Tom McGuire, DDS, founder of the International Association of Mercury Free & Mercury Safe Dentists (IAMFD).

I understand you may disagree with some of Dr. McGuire’s opinions. But the fact of the matter is, he’s a heavy-hitter in amalgam debate.

As for his seminars…

“Since all of the uproar about Dr. McGuire’s article I decided to visit the seminar website. I didn’t see anything about arguing that amalgams are a health hazard. All I got was that dentistry is a high risk occupation because of mercury and that it would be prudent, for many reasons, to deal with the occupational exposure to it. I really don’t see this about being pro or anti-amalgam and I still think everyone is entitled to his/her opinion about that topic. What I read was that it is about being anti-mercury and finding out what you can do to protect yourself. After looking at the website I’m going to attend his seminar, and it is a 2 hour flight for me.”
– Bob B., DDS

Where Bill sees a chance to lose money, Bob sees a chance to gain important education. Either choice is fine. The Wealthy Dentist isn’t endorsing Dr. McGuire’s views, just giving him a chance to share his knowledge.

Odd how the studies seem to prove whatever it is you want them to show.
– Dr. Gary Hochstetler

An excellent point. When both sides of the consumer amalgam debate claim the science is clearly on their side, it’s hard to know who to believe.

That’s why we’re trying to move the debate away from if having amalgam fillings is safe and towards how much mercury exposure dental health professionals face.

1 Dentist in 4 Would Ban Silver Fillings

3 out of 4 dentists would not ban dental amalgamOnly one dentist in four would support a ban on silver fillings made of dental amalgam.

Past surveys have consistently shown dentists split on the topic of amalgam, as about half of dentists place amalgam fillings. But in this survey, 74% of dentists said that dentists should be able to make their own choices about restorative materials.

“I’ve personally not used it for 30 years,” said one dentist, “but I would guard the right of others to use it when indicated by their ethics and philosophy.”

Here are some further dentist comments:

  • “All studies demonstrate amalgam is safe and very effective.” (California dentist)
  • “Composites are not without their own toxic byproducts.” (General dentist)
  • “Once the ‘Old Guard’ passes, retires or fades away, there will be no more dental amalgam.” (General dentist)
  • “I just travelled to Haiti to do volunteer work in a make shift mission. In the end, the amalgam was the best material of choice… Each dentist must be given the option of selecting the material of choice for the conditions in which they are required.” (General dentist)
  • “It’s time to move on. Hopefully the options will get even better.” (New York dentist)
  • “Most dentists cannot do a decent proximal contacted composite. I would much rather have a mediocre amalgam than an almost perfect composite.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “If amalgam was safe, OSHA would not require its disposal in hazardous waste.” (California dentist)
  • “I could not, would not be able to serve the IDD (intellectually and developmentally disabled) population well if I was not given the choice of amalgam.” (Developmental Dentist)
  • “I personally use amalgam probably less than 5% of the time, but at least I have that choice. Who would enforce this ban? The Government?? Let the dentist decide!!” (Florida dentist)
  • “It works well, is very forgiving, seals its own margins. It is not the universal restorative material, but neither is anything else, including resin. Dentists should have the skill, knowledge and option to use a variety of materials.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “If this were a new material applying for FDA approval, how long would the process take? How hard would the FDA laugh before saying ‘NEXT!’?” (Texas dentist)
  • “Unless evidence exists – which it does not – a ban is totalitarian. What’s next – McDonalds? Pizza? Meat?” (Orthodontist)
  • “You can’t do repairs under dental crowns with anything other than amalgam.” (General dentist)
  • “I wouldn’t use it on myself or my family. So I haven’t used it on my patients in 17 years.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Amalgam works fine. Never seen a negative effect of amalgam use.” (Prosthodontist)

Read more: Dentists Not in Favor of Banning Dental Amalgam

Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations Treaty

Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations TreatyFoxNews.com is reporting that a United Nations global mercury treaty on mercury pollution may become reality and America’s dentists could be subjected to an international ban on filling cavities with “silver amalgam” containing mercury.

The next round of “mercury talks” is scheduled for Monday in Kenya and State Department officials reportedly said they hope to garner support for a legally-binding treaty to reduce worldwide mercury emissions.

Dr. David Simone, a dental surgeon from Northbrook, Ill., who attended the State Department meeting, told FoxNews.com that State Department officials reiterated that amalgam fillings will likely remain on the U.N.’s designated list of products to eventually be phased down with passage of the so-called global mercury treaty.

There is a controversial ongoing argument among dental health professionals about the possible health risks associated with mercury exposure from amalgam fillings, and competing sides disagree on whether the amount of mercury in fillings causes risks.

The ADA supports the position that dental amalgam is safe and posts the following statement on its website –

Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.

The FDI World Dental Federation and the World Health Organization concluded in a 1997 consensus statement: “No controlled studies have been published demonstrating systemic adverse effects from amalgam restorations.” Another conclusion of the report stated that, aside from rare instances of local side effects of allergic reactions, “the small amount of mercury released from amalgam restorations, especially during placement and removal, has not been shown to cause any … adverse health effects.”

In 1998 the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs published its first major review of the scientific literature on dental amalgam which concluded that “based on available scientific information, amalgam continues to be a safe and effective restorative material.” The Council’s report also stated, “There currently appears to be no justification for discontinuing the use of dental amalgam.”

In an article published in the February 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers report finding “no significant association of Alzheimer’s Disease with the number, surface area or history of having dental amalgam restorations” and “no statistically significant differences in brain mercury levels between subjects with Alzheimer’s Disease and control subjects.”

A 2003 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine states, “Patients who have questions about the potential relation between mercury and degenerative diseases can be assured that the available evidence shows no connection.” [Read more …]

Robert Ferguson, founder and president of the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), told Foxnews.com that he sees the controversy surrounding dental amalgam as little more than the latest scare to drive more regulation.

What are your thoughts on the use of silver amalgam in dental treatments?

For more on this story see U.S. Weighs Support for U.N. Treaty That Could Force Dentists to Change Materials Used in Fillings.

Watch for more on this subject in the November issue of Academy of General Dentistry in a feature article by Eric K. Curtis, DDS, MA, MAGD titled, Black and White with Shades of Gray Ruminations on Amalgams in a World of Composites.

Dental Survey: Lead is the Number One Dentist Concern (video)

Dental Survey: Lead is the Number One Dentist Concern Mercury and Fluoride, two chemicals that can be highly toxic, or highly helpful to dental health.

Lead and Bisphenol A, two more scary chemicals that might be in our dental work. It’s enough to make you wonder whether dentists might sometimes be doing more harm than good.

What’s worse, the scientific evidence isn’t clear.

Sighed one dentist, “I’d like to be doing all gold restorations.”

Another dentist commented, “I feel it’s ironic that some patients don’t want ‘artificial chemicals’ in their mouth and decline the natural elements in amalgam in favor of the complex chemistry of composites!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey of dentists asking how concerned they are about various potential public health threats linked to chemicals in dentistry.

Click on Play to hear what chemicals concern dentists the most —

What dental chemicals concern you?

Dental Care: Dentists Justify Placing Amalgam

Dental Care: Dentists Justify Placing AmalgamDental news articles have reported a reduction in the use of amalgam for dental care by dentists over the past 20 years with new restorative techniques.

In the past, The Wealthy Dentist surveys have consistently shown dentists split on the topic of placing amalgam, with about half of dentists remaining loyal to placing amalgam fillings.

In our most recent survey the amalgam dental care trend holds steady with 58% of dentists responding that they still place amalgam.

“Amalgam is still a great restoration,” said one dentist, “and a good service for the patient.”

How frequently dentists place amalgam varies widely —

27% place multiple amalgams per day, or over 300 per year.
12% place about 10 amalgams per year.
8% place about 1 amalgam per day, or at least 200 per year.
6% place 1 amalgam per week, or 50 per year.
5% place 2 amalgams per week, or about 100 per year.

Dental Care: How Frequently Dentists Place Amalgam

Here are some further dentist comments–

Support placing amalgam:

“It’s easier to work with amalgam versus composite on posterior teeth.” (Arizona dentist)

“A well-placed amalgam can be the difference for a patient who has financial concerns and cannot afford a casting or resin.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“I offer it for patient’s finances and in difficult areas.” (South Carolina dentist)

“Amalgam is an efficient, cost effective, long lasting restoration if done correctly.” (Massachusetts dentist)

“I certainly place more composites and all-ceramic inlays and onlays when it is necessary. Amalgams are good restorations for non-visible/non-esthetic areas and when the restoration will be small. We allow the patient to decide amalgam or composite in that situation. Sometimes they tell us their financial situation dictates amalgam over composite.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“I live in rural America and crowns are not financially feasible for many; so I shovel a lot of alloy!” (Wisconsin dentist)

“It’s the best restorative material to use in some instances.” (Tennessee dentist)

“The most inexpensive restorative material- coefficient of thermal expansion close to tooth structure is key to why it lasts so long compared to composite resin; ease of placement and manipulation is best of all direct restorative materials.” (Indiana dentist)

“They last and last and last!” (Texas dentist)

Against placing amalgam:

“Why would I place amalgams in people’s teeth when I can’t throw them down the drain. It seems that fish get more protection than humans.” (General dentist)

“My thoughts about all things that go into the body are: If there is a question about the safety of a product — don’t use it. I hear many questions about the safety of amalgams. There are other dental care products I can use until the questions are answered.” (Texas dentist)

“Amalgams cause the teeth to fracture.” (California dentist)

“I stopped altogether in 1995 when resins became usable as a replacement. Primary reason was I feared a potential class action type suit against any dentist using the material. Pretty pathetic but in this litigious society you have to CYA.” (New Jersey dentist)

“I wouldn’t put it in my dog! I can’t throw it in the garbage legally, but I can place it in your mouth?” (New York dentist)

“We have better materials. We don’t need to use a restorative that was developed in the 1890’s just because it’s easier and cheaper. If it were introduced as a new material today it would never make it or even be allowed. It just doesn’t make sense to use it. Yes, they mostly last “forever,” but at the expense of the tooth.” (General dentist)

“If the scraps are a danger to my assistant, how can I justify placing one in anybody’s mouth?” (California dentist)

“Interesting that the government has rules on the collection and disposal of amalgam as a hazardous waste from the dental suction system BUT feels there is no problem placing the material in someone’s mouth??? Go figure!” (Connecticut dentist)

“I don’t place them, and haven’t since the beginning of my career. However, it’s not because I think they are inferior or toxic. On the contrary, I believe amalgam is a great material. It’s just that composite is a great material when placed properly, AND it looks better.” (Texas dentist)

The ADA states that dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable material containing a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance for dental care.

Disclaimer

© 2017, The Wealthy Dentist - Dental Marketing - All Rights Reserved - Dental Website Marketing Site Map

The Wealthy Dentist® - Contact by email - Privacy Policy

P.O. Box 1220, Tiburon, CA 94920

The material on this website is offered in conjunction with MasterPlan Alliance.

Copyright 2017 Du Molin & Du Molin, Inc. All rights reserved. If you would like to use material from this site, our reports, articles, training programs
or tutorials for use in any printed or electronic media, please ask permission first by email.