FDA Issues Precautionary Note on Silver Fillings

by | Aug 7, 2012 | Dental Restorations, Heavy Metals, Mercury / Dental Amalgam

“The whole idea behind healthcare is to seek the best possible method of treatment at all times. Change is natural and necessary. What has been done in the past is not always the best for the future. And hanging on to old ideas simply because of their age is unwise and unnatural.” Mercury Free by James E. Hardy, DDS

Each time I read this passage, it becomes more and more clear to me that there is indeed a paradigm shift taking place in the field of dentistry. Over the last 15 years, I have researched the pros and cons of mercury usage in dentistry. I have listened to both sides of an intense argument that has persisted within my profession for the last 150 years.

Across the “pond”, several European countries, i.e., Norway, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland have taken the lead to eliminate the use of mercury fillings in their dental offices. Will the United States Government and the American Dental Association allow this to happen here in the U.S.?

In June 2008, the FDA issued a precautionary note on silver fillings. Excerpts from an article written by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, are provided. The entire article, and updates on the final ruling, are available on our web site on the “Dr. Rehme’s Articles” page.

“Silver dental fillings contain mercury, and the government for the first time is warning that they may pose a safety concern for pregnant women and young children. The Food and Drug Administration posted the precaution on its Web site early in June 2008, to settle a lawsuit – making the move a victory for anti-mercury activists. Expect a final ruling by July 28, 2009.”

“The warning is not aimed at the general population, only at two groups already urged to limit mercury form another source – seafood – because too much can harm a developing brain.”

“The fillings, formally known as dental amalgams, ‘contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses,’ reads the FDA Web posting.”

“And this spring, the FDA put dentists on notice that it is considering additional controls, including whether to require warnings that would advise consumers of the mercury in amalgams before they have a cavity filled, or perhaps even restrict use in small children and certain other patients.”

“It’s an open question what we will do,” FDA Deputy Commissioner Randall Lutter told The Associated Press. But, “what this says is there’s a clear intent on our part on labeling for sensitive subpopulations.”

“Used since the 1800s, amalgams’ popularity is already dropping. They account for about 30% of the U.S. fillings, still millions of people a year.”

“Science operates on ‘a precautionary principle,’ said Dr. Karl Kieburtz, a University of Rochester neurologist who co-chaired the 2006 FDA advisory committee and praised the new warning.”

Personally, as a Biological Dentist, I stopped using mercury in my practice 16 years ago. I thought it was the right action to take for myself and my patients. I’ve studied the science. I’ve examined the research. I’ve made my decision. Why take a chance?

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