Amalgam is one of the oldest dental materials. It has been in use to make dental fillings for around two hundred years. For the posterior and molar area, amalgam fillings are still pondering the standard because they are stable, durable, and inexpensive. The costs for this fully tuck up statutory health insurance, while patients usually have to pay for plastic fillings. Tooth-colored plastic is only cover-up by the health insurance for fillings in the anterior or visible area (for aesthetic reasons) and pregnant women and kidney patients (for reasons of precautionary health protection).
Amalgam is widespread
According to estimates by dentists, around every third German has at least one filling in their mouth. However, because about half of the material mix consists of mercury, its use has been controversial from the outset, including among dentists and researchers. Many patients generally reject amalgam because they fear damage to health from the heavy metal it contains – from allergic reactions and intolerance to chronic mercury poisoning with effects on the entire organism.
Quite a few who already have the mercury-containing filler in their mouth want to get rid of it. There are dental practices that specialize in amalgam removal (amalgam remediation). If the patient suffers from an amalgam intolerance confirmed by an allergist, the health insurance company will even cover the costs. Nonetheless, officials and concerning various study results repeatedly state that amalgam fillings are harmless to health.
Difficult evidence, unclear evidence | Amalgam
The main argument of the amalgam proponents is that the amount of mercury entering the body is tiny and far below the limit values. Also, there is no reliable evidence of amalgam allergies or complaints from correctly prepare by and in use amalgam. Symptoms or their improvement after amalgam removal are often explained by the placebo effect and pushed into the psychological area. In fact, the symptoms of heavy metal intoxication are as diverse as they are individual. It is therefore seldom possible to clearly delimit them and unequivocally attribute them to amalgam or mercury. Besides, not everyone who wears amalgam fillings also has complaints.
It is very difficult to provide evidence for those affected who do not want to be satisfied with it. There have been initiatives to this end, for example, a criminal complaint about bodily harm that 1500 people with symptoms of intoxication filed against the mercury distributor and amalgam manufacturer Degussa in 1996. The proceedings were discontinued and Degussa was oblige up to pay a fine to the court treasury. Besides, the company should finance a study on the harmfulness of amalgam. This study, which ran for twelve years and cost the amalgam manufacturer around 600,000 euros, did not produce any useful results. In some cases, there were no comparison groups, and the measurement and test methods were also discussed controversially. Above all, the ambiguities were firm.
Handy filler or deadly poison?
As early as February 2009, the United Nations Environment Ministers lay forth that mercury would no longer be in use anywhere in the world from 2013 onwards. Because it was a deadly poison. The mercury ban has also implement up in Sweden and Norway, where amalgam fillings have been banned for several years. In Germany, on the other hand, there has been no agreement since the 1920s on whether or not fillings can make you sick. Now the controversial material is being lay to the test again. In May 2016, the Council of Europe called for a Europe-wide mercury or amalgam ban or at least a significant restriction on its use.
Part of it accumulates in the body. For example in the liver and kidneys, in the fatty tissue that also surrounds the nerves, or in the brain. The half-life of the highly toxic heavy metal stored in the body is twenty years.
More about Amalgam
It is also known and proven that mercury blocks the immune and nerve metabolism of the body’s cells. Depending on the concentration of the poison, this can lead to diffuse, “creeping” symptoms (e.g. nausea, dizziness, exhaustion, reduced performance, frequent infections). People with amalgam fillings have around five times as much mercury in their bodies. The only question that remains officially unresolved is whether the amount of mercury absorbed. Thus, stored by dental fillings is high enough to make a person sick.
Perhaps it would have gone from dental offices long ago if it wasn’t so convenient. It is easy to work with, has a long service life, and, is extremely economical.
However, if one considers not only the use of it. But also the production and the associated environmental pollution, it is not cheap. But comparatively expensive material. If its harmfulness to health were officially recognized or confirmed, the manufacturers and health insurance companies would face high costs.