Background: Many patients have complex health complaints they attribute to dental amalgam. There is some evidence of symptom relief after removal of amalgam.
Objective: The aims of this study were to assess the total symptom load in patients with all their amalgam fillings removed, and to investigate the self-reported improvement of health with regard to precautions taken under amalgam removal and time since removal.
Methods: The survey was distributed to all members (n=999) of the Norwegian Dental patients association in 2011. The study participants returned the questionnaires anonymously by means of a pre-stamped envelope. The questionnaire asked for sociodemographic data, subjectively perceived health status, complaints persisting after amalgam removal and self-reported changes in symptoms after amalgam removal.
Results: A total of 324 participants were included in the study. The majority of the participants reported improved health after amalgam removal, even though the mean degree of severity of complaints was still high. Exhaustion and musculoskeletal complaints were most severe, and reflects the fact that 38% of the participants reported poor to very poor current health. With regard to amalgam removal, associations between improved health, number of precautions applied, and time since removal were found.
Conclusion: Most of the participants in this study reported improvement of health after amalgam removal even though they still suffered a high complaint load. Since absolute symptom load is a robust predictor for general health outcome and socioeconomic burden for society, a possible intervention, which enables patients to further improve their health status is desirable.
Keywords: Dental amalgam; Health complaints; Mercury; Restoration.