Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mercury fillings

Have you heard about all those people who've had their mercury fillings removed? Have you ever thought of doing the same? Can't decide?

Well, you'll be glad that the latest news will help you decide. I'm sure you've seen it splashed all over the newspapers. It wasn't in your paper? That's funny, it wasn't in mine either. Here's a summary:

The first large scale randomised control trials on the safety of mercury fillings were published just two weeks ago. They studied more than 1,000 children, some were given mercury fillings and some mercury-free fillings. Then they measured kidney function and various neurodevelopmental outcomes such as memory, coordination, nerve conduction, IQ, and so on, over several years. There were no significant differences between the two groups.

Not good news for dentists, I'm afraid. A lady I saw this afternoon told me that she's just seen a private dentist. On her first visit he offered to remove all her mercury fillings and relace them with 'safe' ones. That's strange, she thought, he didn't offer to do that when he was my NHS dentist. So she sacked him.

This is such important news that I'm surprised it wasn't in the newspapers. But then good news is no news, as the saying almost goes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonder about the group affiliations of the researchers. The study also was only a few years, and subtle effects over a lifetime cannot be ruled out. The editorial in the journal the article was published points out just that.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and no one can deny that.

It is also interesting to note that amalgam fillings are slowly fading in favor of composite resin fillings, which are now tough enough to be used on molar surfaces.

Expect further improvements in dental restorations.

Note: to read a press release on the subject, go to:

www.webmd.com/content/article/121/114141.htm

Vance Esler said...

My brother is a dentist. Over the years he has replaced my old mercury fillings, but not because he thought they were dangerous. Rather, he said they tend to deteriorate over time, and it is easier for the tooth to crack or for the filling to loose its fit. He claims the newer materials adhere better and also better withstand the pressure of biting and temperature changges.