As of August 21, 1996, Health Canada has taken the following position.
Dental amalgam is the single largest source of mercury exposure for average Canadians. There is no evidence that this is causing general illness in the population. However, there is a percentage of the population which is hypersensitive to mercury and can suffer severe health effects from even a low exposure.
As a general principle, it is advisable to reduce exposure to heavy metals (mercury) in our environment, even if there is no clinical evidence of adverse health effects, provided that the reduction can be achieved at reasonable cost and without adverse side effects.
Non-mercury filling materials should be considered for restoring the primary teeth of children where the mechanical properties of the material are suitable.
Whenever possible, amalgam fillings should not be placed in or removed from the teeth of pregnant women.
Amalgam should not be placed in patients with impaired kidney function.
In placing and removing amalgam fillings, dentists should use techniques and equipment to minimize the exposure of the patient and the dentist to mercury vapour.
Dentists should advise individuals who may have allergic hypersensitivity to mercury to avoid the use of amalgam. In patients who have developed hypersensitivity to amalgam, existing amalgam restorations should be replaced by another material.
New amalgam fillings should not be placed in contact with existing metal devices in the mouth.
Dentists should provide their patients with sufficient information to make an informed choice regarding the material used to fill their teeth, including information on the risks and benefits of the material and suitable alternatives.
Dentists should acknowledge the patient's right to decline treatment with any dental material.
*Practice of General Dentistry
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