Assessing the environmental and health adverse effects of mercury released from dental amalgam: A Literature review

Document Type : Review Article(s)

Authors

1 Department of pediatric dentistry, faculty of dentistry, Kerman university of medical sciences

2 Postgraduate student of Pediatric dentistry, School of Dentistry, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

10.22102/jaehr.2021.275146.1212

Abstract

This paper reviews the most available data on the possible adverse effects of mercury released from amalgam that comprises of 50 % pure mercury, 35 % silver, 12-13 % tin, 2 % copper and to up1 % zinc, indium, platinum and palladium. Despite the possible health risks of mercury from amalgam on the nervous, respiratory, renal, and endocrine systems, it is however, used in some countries, even though Sweden, Denmark, Canada, the United States and Japan have long banned the use of amalgam. Amalgam restorations are one of the main mercury-releasing sources (1800-2700 tons per year) of contamination. During chewing, grinding, brushing of teeth, breaking down of amalgam and as the temperature of the oral environment increases mercury vapor will be released. The mercury vapor enters atmosphere, wastewater in dental offices, all systemic organs, especially the lower respiratory tract, can affect the renal-urinary system or enters breast milk, fetus and finally transmits to infants. The mercury level released from amalgam in blood, urine, hair and nail of large populations of dentists, dental assistants and pregnant women is higher than the safe levels. The main neurological and psychological effects of mercury vapor include in the form of sleep disorders, amnesia, mental disorders, hair loss, memory disturbances, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, kidney diseases, gene-toxicity, Alzheimer, Autism, skin allergies-cancer, infertility, low-birth-weight infants and heart diseases. In order to avoid further amalgam risks to the dentists, dental assistants, pregnant women and wildlife ecosystem, it is suggested to replace the dental amalgam by composite resins.

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