An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: “Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?”

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

It seems to come in cycles. Not quite as often as the full moon, but maybe as often as the blue moon. There’s a slow news day and dentistry rises to the top of the pile. Maybe we can run a story about the evil dentist that put poison in our fillings? Then I spend the next month explaining and easing my patients’ fears.

“Dr. Paul, I know I need a filling, but fillings scare me because they are full of mercury and will make me sicker than I am now.”

“Mrs. Gruntbuns, amalgam fillings are safe. Even though the opponents — who are few, but excessively loud — say, “No,” it’s still safe. They have been safe for 150 years. No credible scientific evidence says otherwise, and no one has been proven to be cured of their maladies by having an amalgam removed, unless their only malady was ‘I hate this black filling.’

“If amalgam fillings were truly dangerous, I would come to work in a hazmat suit and I would never let my darling children come into my office. Dentists are exposed to more amalgam fillings than any patient ever will be, and we aren’t suffering any ill effects.”
Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at jpaul@bot.floridadental.org.

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