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Amalgam Fillings Get Green Light

Review finds insufficient evidence they cause health problems

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- There's insufficient evidence to support a link between dental amalgam fillings and health problems, according to a review of nearly a thousand scientific studies.

Dental amalgam is an alloy made of silver, copper, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Rare cases of allergic reactions are the only time that amalgam may be linked to health problems, the review concluded.

The independent review was conducted by the Life Sciences Research Office at the request of a work group comprised of representatives from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Public Health Service.

The review results, released recently, support the findings of two earlier reviews by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"This report further substantiates the American Dental Association's (ADA) position that dental amalgam is a safe, effective material to fill cavities, based on science and clinical experience," ADA executive director Dr. James B. Bramson said in a prepared statement.

"Countless people's teeth have been saved by using amalgam, which is one of the most durable and affordable cavity filling materials available, especially for large cavities in the back teeth where chewing forces are the greatest," Bramson said.

More information

The American Dental Association has more about dental fillings.

SOURCE: American Dental Association, news release, December 2004
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