British Society of Prosthodontics Debate on the Implications of the Minamata Convention on Mercury to Dental Amalgam--Should our Patients be Worried?

Dent Update. 2016 Jan-Feb;43(1):8-10, 12-4, 16-8. doi: 10.12968/denu.2016.43.1.8.


In 2013, the Minamata Convention on Mercury called for a global phase-down of amalgam use, with a view to reduce environmental mercury pollution. This will significantly impact UK dentistry, given the still extensive use of amalgam in U.K. general dental practice. However, until now there has been little national discussion or debate. In Spring 2015, The British Society of Prosthodontics dedicated a significant part of its Annual Conference to debating the implications of this issue. Clinical case examples were discussed with audience interaction and voting facilitated using innovative Audience Response System Technology. A remarkable range of concerns and opinions were given. The debate elicited specific concerns amongst clinicians regarding the suitability of mercury-free alternatives to amalgam; particularly where cavities are large and extend beneath the gingival anatomy. There are also anecdotal reports of Dental Foundation (DF) dentists not being adequately taught the use of dental amalgam in undergraduate dental schools. CPD/CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Many clinicians, especially those treating patients for whom moisture control is challenging, feel that amalgam should remain available for clinicians to choose in certain clinical circumstances for the restoration of posterior teeth, even in the event of a complete phase-down.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Composite Resins / chemistry
  • Decision Making
  • Dental Amalgam* / chemistry
  • Dental Cavity Preparation / classification
  • Dental Materials / chemistry
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / classification
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / methods*
  • Dentists / psychology
  • Environmental Pollution / prevention & control
  • Glass Ionomer Cements / chemistry
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Mercury*
  • Prosthodontics
  • Societies, Dental
  • United Kingdom


  • Composite Resins
  • Dental Materials
  • Glass Ionomer Cements
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury