Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 19 (2), 81-8

The Dental Amalgam Toxicity Fear: A Myth or Actuality


The Dental Amalgam Toxicity Fear: A Myth or Actuality

Monika Rathore et al. Toxicol Int.


Amalgam has been used in dentistry since about 150 years and is still being used due to its low cost, ease of application, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effect. When aesthetics is not a concern it can be used in individuals of all ages, in stress bearing areas, foundation for cast-metal and ceramic restorations and poor oral hygiene conditions. Besides all, it has other advantages like if placed under ideal conditions, it is more durable and long lasting and least technique sensitive of all restorative materials, but, concern has been raised that amalgam causes mercury toxicity. Mercury is found in the earth's crust and is ubiquitous in the environment, so even without amalgam restorations everyone is exposed to small but measurable amount of mercury in blood and urine. Dental amalgam restorations may raise these levels slightly, but this has no practical or clinical significance. The main exposure to mercury from dental amalgam occurs during placement or removal of restoration in the tooth. Once the reaction is complete less amount of mercury is released, and that is far below the current health standard. Though amalgam is capable of producing delayed hypersensitivity reactions in some individuals, if the recommended mercury hygiene procedures are followed the risks of adverse health effects could be minimized. For this review the electronic databases and PubMed were used as data sources and have been evaluated to produce the facts regarding amalgam's safety and toxicity.

Keywords: Amalgam; mercury; myth; restoration; safety; tooth; toxicity.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: None declared.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 11 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Berry TG, Summit JB, Chung AK, Osborne JW. Amalgam at the new millennium. J Am Dent Assoc. 1998;129:1547–56. - PubMed
    1. Dunne SM, Grainsford ID, Wilson NH. Current materials and techniques for direct restorations in posterior teeth. Part 1: Silver amalgam. Int Dent J. 1997;47:123–36. - PubMed
    1. Brownawell AM, Berent S, Brent RL, Bruckner JV, Doull J, Gershwin EM, et al. The potential adverse health effects of dental amalgam. Toxicol Rev. 2005;24:1–10. - PubMed
    1. Marshall SJ, Grayson W, Marshall JR, Anusavice KJ. Philips Science of Dental Materials. 11th ed. India: Elsevier Sciences; 2006. pp. 499–500.
    1. Eames WB. Preparation and condensation of amalgam with a low mercuryalloy ratio. J Am Dent Assoc. 1959;58:78–83. - PubMed