Dental Amalgam Controversy essay

Dental amalgam which is also known as silver filling is one of the dental filling materials that are used for restoring the structure of a decayed tooth. This filling material is made up of liquid mercury, which forms half of the compound containing silver, and copper. Mercury is used in dental amalgam because it makes the filling material easy to apply. When mercury is mixed with an alloy powder, it forms a soft compound that can easily be pressed into a decayed tooth.  Mercury also hardens faster and makes the mixture strong.

Although it contains mercury that is harmful, “dental amalgam has often been used for treating patients with dental problems” (Virijhoef 13). The proponents of this mechanism of dental filling argue that the level of mercury released from the amalgam is little and cannot affect individuals who have undergone dental amalgam filling. This can prompt an individual to ask why many nations apply strict measures on the disposal of the amalgam wastes. The proponents of these measures contend that amalgam wastes contain mercury, which can obliterate the environment as well as humans. Consequently, the application of dental amalgam has been seriously debated by both health practitioners and policy developers, and they have adopted different perspectives about its safety to the patients and environment. In my view, dental amalgam has the potential of causing many health related problems; hence, it should be abolished.


Many concerns have been elevated over the use of blend because it contains mercury, which is harmful to body organs such typically the kidneys and the brain. Initially, it absolutely was believed that will mercury is just not released as soon as the filling procedure is usually complete. However, “ considerable research reveals that as the amalgam wears away small amounts of mercury within form of vapor is launched which is often inhaled or ingested”   (Stortebecker 56). Mercury vapor can adversely affect an individual’ s bodily organs.

Apart from this specific, if a breast nourishing woman undergoes this method of ental filling, the mercury from the amalgam may be transferred to typically the mammary gland. Hence, a new breast feeding child can be affected by the amalgam waste. Amalgam can furthermore affect pregnant woman given that the mercury can end up being transferred through the placenta into the fetus. This particular can interfere with the particular development of the baby. Nonetheless, some experts say that the level regarding mercury in such situations is often low in addition to cannot cause any problems for the fetus.

There are individuals who are hypersensitive to mercury and other metals used in making dental amalgam. When such individuals undergo dental concoction treatment, they can create oral lesions or some other reactions. This also can make the use and protection of dental amalgam questionable.

Another concern increased against the application associated with it is its potential regarding causing environmental pollution as it contains mercury. If concoction waste is poorly disposed, it can cause weather or water pollution. When amalgam waste is released into sewers, it can form sewage sludge. Inmost cases sewage sludge is usually disposed in land fills. Alternatively, it can be disposed through incineration, or it may be applied as fertilizer. When sewage sludge containing amalgam waste is used as fertilizer, it can still evaporate towards the atmosphere and interfere with environment. “ If the sewage sludge is incinerated, mercury will be released into the atmosphere”   (Eley 45). Finally, dumping of sludge in land fills leads to contamination of underground water. Much of the mercury which contaminates waste water is frequently derived from dental sources. Therefore, poorly disposed mercury endangers the ecosystem.


The concerns mentioned above make the use and safety of dental amalgam questionable. However, dental amalgam exhibits some advantages that make it suitable for dental treatment. For instance, it is long lasting since it does not break easily. On the contrary, mercury expands and contracts, hence, leading to tooth damage. In addition to this, as the amalgam wares off, bacteria and fluids can seep under the filling.

Another benefit of dental amalgam is that it is cheaper compared to other filling materials. This brings into mind the old adage that cheap is expensive. It may be considered cheap, but the harm it may cause to the body organs can be adverse, and this may make one incur more expenses compared to other filling materials.


A number of measures can be taken to help solve this problem. First, environmental pollution stemming from amalgam waste can be prevented by ensuring that dentists use dental separators to prevent excess amalgam wastes from being released directly into sewage systems. In this case, regulations should be put in place to prohibit the release of such wastes into surface waters. Campaigns can also be carried out to sensitize dentists on how to safely dispose the dental amalgam wastes.

Secondly, dentists should consider using alternative dental filling technique such as resin composite, gold alloys and porcelain. These methods are not harmful to human health. These alternatives can also be helpful to individuals allergic to the components of dental amalgam.  Breast feeding mothers and pregnant women should apply other mechanisms of dental fillings, but nor dental amalgam. Lastly, patients who have undergone dental amalgam filling should not consider removing them because it will further expose them to mercury vapor released during the removal process.


Based on the above arguments, dental amalgam is not the best option for dental filling. Therefore, patients should consider using other filling materials. Through this strategy, we shall not only avoid body complications, but also protect other living organisms and the environment at large. By embracing other dental filling materials, dentists will not be exposed to the risks associated with handling mercury. Lastly, “various countries should abolish the use of dental amalgam due to its adverse effect on human health and the environment” (Bindsle 67).

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