The Food and Drug administration (FDA) has asked a panel of outside experts to review the safety of dental amalgam fillings due to the persistent complaints that the fillings may cause health problems.
The U.S. health officials found no evidence to suggest that the fillings were dangerous in dozen of studies conducted to review the safety of mercury in the silver fillings, and the FDA has asked the panel of outside experts to look into the matter to see if they agree with the findings or think there is reason for worry.
The silver fillings made with mercury is used to fill cavities in teeth in tens of millions of Americans each year as it is durable, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive when compared to tooth-colored fillings.
However, mercury is known to be toxic to brain and kidneys and because of this some consumers feel the use of mercury in dentistry is not warranted as there are other fillings available and are planning to file a petition asking the FDA to immediately ban them for pregnant women.
Charles Brown, Counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, said if the FDA does not act, "we are going to still continue to use it in pregnant women and children even though we know mercury causes brain damage. It's morally and legally unacceptable."
Silver fillings along with fish consumption and vaccines has been listed as the major sources of mercury exposure in the United States by the FDA. However, health officials say that the mercury vapors emitted from fillings are too small to cause harm.
In a draft report prepared for the advisory panel meeting, the FDA said it has found no evidence to suggest that use of mercury in fillings is harmful. The agency said, "The weight of evidence does not support the hypothesis that exposure to mercury via dental amalgam restorations causes adverse biological outcomes."