Goodbye metal mouth
If you work in the dental sector you are well aware of the concerns that patients have around dental toxicity. It is a controversial issue, but recently it has resulted in an increasing number of patients who are reluctant to accept metal dental materials. Generally, people don’t like the look of metal in the mouth but they also worry about the constituents and side effects of alloys and metallic components. Of course, regulatory bodies and agencies in the UK control the safety and quality of all dental devices but some patients have metal allergies or suspect that they may be hypersensitive to metal.
One of the main concerns expressed by patients relates to dental amalgam. The fear of dental toxicity as a result of the mercury content of amalgam fillings is widespread. Amalgam fillings are made up of a blend of metals including silver, mercury, and small amounts of tin, copper and/or zinc. This material has been used in dentistry for over 150 years and although research confirms that amalgam restorations leach mercury, there is no evidence to suggest that this results in adverse health effects. It is effective and durable and is still considered to be a safe restorative option for both children and adults. Furthermore, the Oral Health Foundation states that confirmed cases of allergic reaction to amalgam are extremely rare. Out of the billions of amalgam fillings that have been placed, fewer than 100 cases of an allergic reaction have been reported worldwide. Nevertheless, patients and practitioners are moving away from amalgam and opting for composite materials.