Mercury in Dental Amalgam Fillings
Why am I being warned about potential exposure to mercury in dental amalgam fillings?
- Mercury and mercury compounds are on the Proposition 65 list because they can cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.
- Exposure to mercury during pregnancy can affect brain development and cause learning and behavior problems for the child.
- Proposition 65 requires businesses to determine if they must provide a warning about exposures to listed chemicals.
What is dental amalgam?
Dental amalgam, commonly known as “silver filling,” is a dental filling material that consists of about one-half mercury (a metal) and about one-half other metals, including silver.
How does exposure to mercury from dental amalgam occur?
- Mercury exposure occurs by breathing low levels of mercury vapors and swallowing during:
- Placement or removal of dental amalgam fillings.
- Teeth grinding by people who have dental amalgam fillings.
- Chewing gum and eating by people who have dental amalgam fillings
- During pregnancy, mercury can pass to the baby when:
- The mother has amalgam fillings put in or removed.
- The mother has amalgam fillings and grinds her teeth.
How can I reduce my exposure to mercury in dental amalgam?
- Have regular check-ups and talk to your dentist about good oral hygiene practices.
- If you have dental amalgam fillings that are in good condition, avoid removal of them.
- If you need a tooth filling, talk to your dentist about the characteristics, including strength and longevity, of other restorative materials, such as resin composite, porcelain, and gold alloys.
- If you have amalgam fillings and grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about possible remedies (such as a mouth guard).
What does the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say about mercury in dental amalgam?
- Considers dental amalgam fillings generally safe for adults and children age 6 and above.
- Recommends that pregnant women and parents with children under age 6 discuss their concerns with their dentist.
For more information:
Mercury in Dental Amalgam Fact Sheets and Resources:
Dental Oral Health:
General Mercury Information:
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Mercury and Mercury Compounds
- Dental Offices