FDA updates recommendation on silver dental fillings

FDA updates warning on dental fillings

(CNN) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated their warning about silver dental fillings, stating they may cause health problems for some people.

For years, the American Dental Association and FDA have said silver dental fillings, known as dental amalgam, are believed to be safe.

However, last week the FDA updated the recommendations on its website, saying the material is safe for most but there are some people who should avoid the silver dental fillings whenever possible and appropriate.

Those who should avoid the fillings include pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant, women who are nursing, children, especially under the age of six, people with kidney problems and people with preexisting neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

Amalgam has been widely used because it is strong, durable and less expensive than some other filling materials. Over time it can release small amounts of mercury vapor.

The revised guidelines say low levels of exposure to mercury vapor aren’t typically a threat to most people’s health, but exposure can cause certain health problems for people who are hypersensitive to mercury.

For those at risk, the guidelines suggest dentists use alternatives like resin and glass cement fillings.

The FDA is not recommending people remove or replace fillings that are in good condition because the removal can increase exposure to mercury vapor and also hurt the healthy tooth structure.

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