Why Hasn’t the US Gotten Rid of Amalgam Fillings Yet?

My sister told me the United States signed a treaty to get rid of amalgam fillings, but my dentist still does them. Is he breaking the law?


Dear Karen,

Silver Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are loaeded with mercury

The United States signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury. This is focused more on the environment than on the fillings. It was named after the Japanese town that lost 900 people to mercury poisoning in their water. In addition to those deaths, there were well over 2,000 people who became violently ill.

What it did do was establish protocols for disposing of mercury, which is the main ingredient in silver amalgam fillings to keep waterways, etc. from getting polluted. It has no effect on the use of mercury in fillings. In fact, the FDA still considers them safe for use in dental care.

While your dentist is likely aware of the convention, the only thing he may have to change is how he disposes of any amalgam fillings he removes.

When You Want a Mercury-Free Dentist

Just because the FDA says amalgam fillings are safe doesn’t mean you have to get them. There are plenty of mercury-free dentists out there. From this day forward, you can have nothing but white composite fillings in your teeth if that’s what you want.

A couple of things to think through:

1. If you want to get rid of your old amalgam fillings, you’ll need to make sure your dentist knows how to do a sanitary amalgam removal to protect you from inhaling mercury vapors or swallowing mercury bits.

2. If you have any fillings that are visible which you want to change to white fillings, bear in mind that the filling can be made to match any shade of white. The only catch is once it’s bonded on, the color cannot be changed. How this plays out practically is if you ever want cosmetic dentistry work done.

For instance, if you want your teeth whitened you’ll either need to whiten your teeth before you get the filling or when you get your teeth whitened at some future date you will need to have your filling re-done to match your new color. Either way, you’ll have a bright smile which matches and you’ll be happy to share it with the world.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steven Collins.