WR 121 Essay 3.2
10 February 2011
Dental Fillings: A Threat to Your Health or Harmless?
According to the American Dental Association, dentists have been using amalgam fillings for over a century. “It’s the least expensive type of filling, used in roughly a third of procedures to replace tooth decay” (Southall 1). The amalgam fillings often called “silver” fillings consist of a mixture of metals: Fifty percent liquid mercury and a fifty percent mixture of silver, tin, and copper (Magner 1). In the 1970’s some of the first claims were made that the mercury in amalgam fillings could be responsible for many health problems (Magner 1). Since then, scientific studies and research on amalgam fillings have unveiled a wide range of health problems that come from mercury exposure, and groups are urging the F.D.A. to ban these so called “silver” fillings. However, the F.D.A. stills deems amalgam fillings safe for adults and children over six, leaving the general public with the question, “Do amalgam fillings pose a significant threat to human health?”
Since the F.D.A. deemed amalgam fillings safe for the public, many people hold the view that the mercury used in dental fillings is safe and poses no threat to human health. The F.D.A. has based its decision, to allow dentists to use amalgam fillings, on scientific evidence that proved there were no harmful effects from amalgam fillings. In Sharon Begley’s informative article “Mercury Tooth Fillings: F.D.A. Does an About Face,” she states in 2006 the Journal of the American Medical Association had come to a conclusion on the threats of amalgam fillings. “The conclusion: after following just over 1,000 kids for five years in one study and seven years in the other, the scientists found no evidence of harmful effects” (1). In Begley’s article one of the science teams stated that, “No statistically significant differences were found between children in the amalgam and composite...