Despite the conclusions from scientific assessment that amalgam is a safe and useful material, a more significant reason for us to reduce its use is a concern for the environment.
Dental amalgam is the second biggest use for mercury in the EU. In reality, dental amalgam has a tiny impact when compared to the main, industrial uses of mercury compounds (for example, in electrical equipment such as batteries and lamps, and in the chemical production of chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide). However, at Space Healthcare we take these issues very seriously, and we are committed to doing our best to minimise any potential environmental impact from our work. So we work with strict controls over the storage of amalgam, we use especially designed amalgam removal technology to make sure no waste escapes into the drains and we use very careful procedures to ensure that when we remove an old amalgam restoration from your tooth all the material is safely collected.
Another significant problem with amalgam is that it can expand and contract in the tooth due to temperature changes. Some research suggests that this can contribute to the development of fractures and cracks in teeth restored with amalgam.
With the advent of high quality tooth-coloured composite fillings, amalgam usage is now declining.
Read or download our summary of the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, to find out more about the future of amalgam: