Dental amalgam: is this the end?


The use of dental amalgam in dentistry and its health and environmental impacts have been a global matter of interest and controversy for the last decade.


Dental amalgam is a reliable and effective restorative material with a well-established role in modern dentistry. Throughout the years its mercury content and the risks posed to human health were main topics of interest for many scientists.

This paper offers a review of the scientific literature on the health and environmental impact of mercury in dentistry published over the last decade. A variety of peer-reviewed, epidemiological and large-scale clinical studies on dental amalgam, as well as published reports of professional and governmental bodies, were organised thematically and analysed. The most relevant findings of the aforementioned literature are reported. No reliance has been placed on unpublished work or publicly available opinions that are not scientifically based. In order to offer an appropriate view on the topic the toxicology, health impacts and possible environmental threats are briefly presented in relation to the relevant literature published in the last ten years.

It is almost unanimously accepted that dental amalgam is a safe material, with little or insignificant adverse effect on general health. However, current and mostly unfounded environmental concerns may result in the implementation of new across the board legislation that could lead to a global dental amalgam ‘phase out’.

Journal of the Irish Dental Association 2013/2014; 59 (6): 311-317

Dr Cristina Taut BDS
Wexford Dental Clinic, 12 Lower George Street, Wexford Town, Co. Wexford
T: 053-917 1817