125 W. Wisconsin Ave. • Suite 102 • Pewaukee, WI 53072 • 262.737.4004

Minimata Convention on Mercury Brings Awareness to Dental Amalgam

The Minamata Convention on Mercury was signed in October 2013 by almost 140 countries around the world. It aims to protect both the environment and the health of millions of people around the globe from the dangers associated with mercury. Some products of concern include batteries, lamps, cosmetics, thermometers, blood pressure tools and even dental fillings made of mercury amalgam. In addition, gold-mining operations and coal-fired power plants will be closely monitored and controlled.  

When the conditions of the treaty went into effect on Aug. 16, 2017, the importance of public awareness of the toxicity of mercury gained a renewed focus around the world. In the dental community, we often see patients who have several old "silver fillings," also known as amalgam fillings. At the time many of these were placed, little was known about the dangers of the substance and its use in dentistry.

Amalgam fillings are made of approximately 50 percent mercury, contrary to what is implied by their common name of "silver fillings." At various times in the life cycle of amalgam fillings, mercury vapors are released. This occurs when the filling is placed or removed, when you chew, when you brush your teeth and when you grind or clench your teeth.  As a result, most patient with these fillings are exposed to mercury vapors several times a day for extended periods of time.

Many of the countries participating in the Minamata Convention have already begun to phase out these fillings, and some have outright banned them. Unfortunately, in the United States, many dentists still offer this filling material. Even though the United States participated in the convention, no notable steps have been taken to protect Americans from the dangers of mercury in their mouths.

If you have questions about your silver fillings or are interested in having them safely removed with standards set by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, call our office today at 262-264-7711 or contact us online to learn more.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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• LONG LASTING DENTISTRY
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