11 Jul

Is there any need to worry about dental amalgam in the wake of new filling guidelines?

Recently, it was revealed that the use of mercury amalgam fillings would be restricted. Having reignited the debate about the safety of amalgam fillings, is it right for us to be worried about old fillings in wake of the publication of new guidelines? If you have mercury fillings, you may be anxious about your health, but is there any real cause for concern?
On July 1st, it was announced that restrictions would be placed on mercury fillings to protect ‘vulnerable’ groups, including children aged under 15 and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Many of us take an interest in health affairs, and news of the modified guidelines may have provoked a degree of concern. With mercury fillings now off the agenda for some groups of patients, does this mean that it’s necessary for others to replace them, and are there risks associated with leaving them alone?
The reality is that there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the use of mercury fillings. Most organisations deem them safe, but they are gradually being phased out. There is a concern for safety among some campaign groups, but the move may also be linked to the fact that dentistry is evolving and modernising, and better materials, which are cleaner and safer, are now available.
The advice from dental organisations is that you don’t need to rush out and get your old fillings replaced if you do have mercury fillings. Equally, you don’t have to lose any sleep worrying about the potential impact of having mercury amalgam fillings. If you need a new filling, it may be beneficial to opt for a white filling, but there’s no need to panic. If you’re unsure about what to do about your old fillings, your dentist will be able to offer advice.