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Dentists around the world are using amalgams (silver fillings)
every day to fill decayed teeth, despite some erroneous news reports
stating that many countries have banned the use of amalgams.
International dental experts meeting recently at the American Dental
Association (ADA) headquarters in Chicago discussed the use of amalgam
in their respective countries.
Sweden is often cited as an example of a country that has banned
amalgam, but that is not true, according to Professor Maud Bergman of
University. Professor Bergman said it is unlikely Sweden will ban the
use of amalgams in the near future. Nor do Sweden's neighbors, Norway
and Denmark ban the use of the filling material. Representatives from
Germany and the Netherlands also said amalgam is not banned in their
countries. Dr. Elmar Reich of Germany's University of Saarland said
that some limited restrictions on the use of amalgam may even be
loosened when the classification of amalgam changes in mid-1998 to a
medical device from its current designation as a therapeutic
agent. Dentists from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and
Canada reported that amalgam is not banned in their countries either.
Although the Canadian government has recommended some restrictions on
the use of amalgam, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has requested
that the government provide scientific documentation to back up some of
the recommendations that the CDA is questioning.
The World Health Organization, FDI World Dental Federation and the ADA
all support the continued use of dental amalgam as a safe, durable and
cost-effective material to restore teeth based on current scientific
knowledge. There is currently no credible scientific evidence that
exposure to mercury from amalgam restorations poses a serious health
risk in humans, except for the exceedingly small number of allergic
reactions. In 150 years of use, there have been only about 100
documented cases of allergic reactions to amalgam in the dental
literature. A joint WHO/FDI meeting is scheduled in Geneva,
Switzerland, in March, 1997, to review the latest scientific evidence on
the safety of dental amalgam.