Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.
Today, we launch the fourth Mercury-Free Dentistry Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to ending the use of dental amalgam — a primitive, pre-Civil War, pollutant that leads to cracked teeth — for three reasons:
- The new Minamata Convention on Mercury is the game-changer for dental amalgam. Each nation that signs this comprehensive treaty against mercury pollution now numbering 100, including the United States commits itself to scaling down dental mercury without delay.
- Consumers for Dental Choice, who spearheads the campaign against amalgam, brings the Minamata Convention home. Commissioning a Zogby poll, they issued a scathing indictment of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for covering up amalgam's mercury from American parents and consumers and for putting the US government out of compliance with the pledge it made at Minamata.
- Your financial support for Consumers for Dental Choice is now needed. Working with talented environmental, consumer, …
When placing dental amalgam, the dentist first drills the tooth to remove the decay and then shapes the tooth cavity for placement of the amalgam filling. Next, under appropriate safety conditions, the dentist mixes the powdered alloy with the liquid mercury to form an amalgam putty. (These components are provided to the dentist in a capsule as shown in the graphic.) This softened amalgam putty is placed in the prepared cavity, where it hardens into a solid filling.
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