Toxicological aspects on the release and systemic uptake of mercury from dental amalgam

Eur J Oral Sci. 1998 Apr;106(2 Pt 2):678-86. doi: 10.1046/j.0909-8836.1998.eos10602ii03.x.


This paper summarizes some recent reports on mercury release from amalgam fillings and resulting concentrations in biological fluids, development of antibiotic resistance, and kidney function. In a series of studies of subjects with amalgam fillings, mercury (Hg) levels were followed in saliva, feces, blood, plasma, and urine before and until 60 d after removal of all of the fillings. The Hg concentrations in saliva remained elevated for at least 1 wk, suggesting that dissolved Hg vapor is not the major source of mercury in mixed saliva. An absorption phase of Hg was seen in plasma during 24 h after amalgam removal. After 60 d the plasma Hg concentration was reduced to 40%, of the baseline level. The decrease per amalgam surface was 0.11 nmol/l (range 0.02 0.40). The Hg level in feces increased two orders of magnitude two days after amalgam removal. At day 60, the median Hg concentration was still slightly higher than the median value of the amalgam free control group. The resistance patterns of the oral and intestinal microflora in these subjects were also studied. In the intestinal microflora, the relative amount of intestinal microorganisms resistant to 50 microM HgCl2 peaked 7 d after removal of the amalgam fillings, with a median value per sample of 6.1%, compared to 1.3% in samples collected prior to the Hg exposure. However, no statistical differences in the resistance pattern of the oral microflora were detected between the control and the experimental groups. A number of sensitive kidney function parameters were measured 1 wk before and 1, 2, and 60 d after amalgam removal. No effects on the various kidney parameters studied were recorded. According to the conclusions of independent evaluations from different state health agencies, the release of mercury from dental amalgam does not present any non-acceptable risk to the general population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Body Fluids / metabolism
  • Dental Amalgam / adverse effects*
  • Dental Amalgam / chemistry
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Mercury / adverse effects*
  • Mercury / blood
  • Mercury / chemistry
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics
  • Mercury / urine
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Surface Properties
  • Time Factors


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury