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New warning about metal dental fillings

Amalgam or metal dental  fillings have become less popular in the UK dental sector over recent years as white dental fillings have become both more durable and aesthetic.

Now scientists have provided evidence to suggest that metal fillings can provide a health risk for people who require a new type of MRI scan as the process can actually cause the leaching of poisonous mercury from the fillings. The new scanners have already been installed into some UK hospitals.

The study, in the journal Radiology, shows 20 minutes’ exposure is enough to release the toxin from extracted teeth filled with silver-coloured amalgam.

The team say more studies are needed to tell what real-life risk it might pose. These cutting-edge scans are not yet widely used but are helping with medical research.

Although metal fillings are now being superseded by white, ceramic, composite fillings, they are still the most common type offered by NHS dentists.

They are often used on the back teeth because they are hard-wearing, while visible front teeth are usually given white fillings.

The British Dental Association says dental amalgam is safe. It’s been in use and extensively studied for 150 years as a restorative material. Its safety and durability are well established. And it remains the most appropriate material for a range of clinical situations.

It says there is no justification for removing these fillings as a precaution, except in those patients properly diagnosed as having allergic reactions to amalgam. This is a rare situation.

But the BDA agrees that more studies are needed to better assess this new potential risk linked with powerful medical scans.

If you would like to change your amalgam fillings to white composite fillings, for either health or cosmetic reasons, this is a service that can be provided at Far Headingley Dental Care.


If you would like to see a new dentist or dental hygienist, you can register with us online here.

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