Some people claim that mercury in dental amalgam can cause health issues. There is no quality research that has shown that this is true. Scientific research has shown that the mercury in amalgam fillings is not absorbed well by the body. Small amounts of mercury from amalgam do get into the blood but are removed by the kidneys and passed out of the body in urine.
There are only two proven side-effects of amalgam:
- Lichen planus - a condition involving small sores on the gum or inside of the cheek.
- An allergic reaction affecting the soft tissues near the filling. Signs of an allergic reaction can include swelling, redness, and itching, but these are rare.
Dental amalgam has been used less and less for dental fillings over the years. This is not due to concerns directly related to human health, but due to concerns about the environment. Mercury from dental clinics can potentially get into the environment. To prevent this, dentists have created policies and installed equipment to help them safely get rid of amalgam waste to limit the amount released into the environment.