United States health officials have refused a proposal by the FDA to stop the use of mercury fillings to treat cavities. Below is an overview of this proposal and debate about mercury safety.
What Are Mercury (Amalgam) Fillings?
When the dentist tells you that you need to get a filling, you will have a choice of several filling types. Included in the options are Amalgam fillings or Resin-based composite fillings. The amalgam fillings consist of about 50% mercury and 50% other metals. They are often referred to as “Silver Fillings” due to their color. Resin fillings, on the other hand, are colored specifically to match the rest of your teeth.
The Debate on Mercury Safety
For many years, the question of mercury safety has been a highly debated topic.
Ever since mercury was used as material for dental fillings, in 1930, the FDA has defended the safety of the metal. Outside experts, activist groups and the general public have not been satisfied by the FDA’s lack of concern.
But why is there concern in the first place? Mercury has been known to be a highly toxic metal that moves from the lungs to the bloodstream, collecting in the kidneys, liver and brain, attacking the Central Nervous System. Many health issues and symptoms have occurred from mercury poisoning, such as memory loss, autoimmune diseases, kidney failure, depression, autism and nerve damage.
Health professionals such as dentist David Kennedy have “seen hundreds of people’s lives dramatically improve once these mercury implants were safely removed.” Because of this, the debate with the FDA has been constant for several years.
The FDA Proposal
In 2011, top FDA officials approved a proposal to end mercury fillings after years of defending their safety. The proposal was intended to prevent dentists from using mercury fillings on pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under the age of 6 and people diagnosed with kidney diseases, neurological problems or mercury allergies.
The proposal was rejected following a cost-benefit analysis from the Department of Health & Human Services. The analysis showed that Mercury fillings provide a cheaper option for dental fillings. Without them, low-income families wouldn’t be able to afford resin fillings, causing the cavities to go untreated, which may lead to serious health conditions in the future. Mercury fillings are still offered by many dental offices.
How Can 1Dental Help?
The decision on whether or not to use mercury fillings is between you and your dentist. 1Dental wants to help people who feel uncertain about the safety of mercury fillings – or the cost of resin fillings.
While resin fillings are the safer option, many people do not get them due to the high cost. At 1Dental, we want to provide the procedures you need at a lower rate so you don’t have to settle for something that may affect your overall health.
The discount dental plans at 1Dental offer a reduced rate on all dental procedures at any of our in-network dentists. Take a look at the reduced rates for our best plan—the Careington 500 Plan—in the state of Texas:
See our full fee schedule and enter your zip code in the search box to see savings in your area.
To sign up, just visit us at 1Dental.com, or call us at 800-372-7615.