Mercury exposure from "silver" tooth fillings: emerging evidence questions a traditional dental paradigm

FASEB J. 1995 Apr;9(7):504-8.


For more than 160 years dentistry has used silver amalgam, which contains approximately 50% Hg metal, as the preferred tooth filling material. During the past decade medical research has demonstrated that this Hg is continuously released as vapor into mouth air; then it is inhaled, absorbed into body tissues, oxidized to ionic Hg, and finally covalently bound to cell proteins. Animal and human experiments demonstrate that the uptake, tissue distribution, and excretion of amalgam Hg is significant, and that dental amalgam is the major contributing source to Hg body burden in humans. Current research on the pathophysiological effects of amalgam Hg has focused upon the immune system, renal system, oral and intestinal bacteria, reproductive system, and the central nervous system. Research evidence does not support the notion of amalgam safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dental Amalgam / adverse effects*
  • Dental Amalgam / metabolism
  • Dental Amalgam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Mercury / adverse effects*
  • Mercury / metabolism
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury