Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older dental fillings contain form of mercury unlikely to be toxic, study finds

Date:
December 12, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new study on the surface chemistry of silver-colored, mercury-based dental fillings suggests that the surface forms of mercury may be less toxic than previously thought.

Older mercury-based dental fillings contain a form of mercury that scientists say is unlikely to be toxic.
Credit: American Dental Association

A new study on the surface chemistry of silver-colored, mercury-based dental fillings suggests that the surface forms of mercury may be less toxic than previously thought.

Related Articles


It appears online in ACS' journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

In the study, Graham George and colleagues note that mercury-based fillings, also called amalgams, have been used by dentists to repair teeth for well-over a century. In recent decades their use has become controversial because of concerns about exposure to potentially toxic mercury. However, mercury can potentially exist in several different chemical forms, each with a different toxicity. Prior to this report, little was known about how the chemical forms of mercury in dental amalgam might change over time.

Using a special X-ray technique, the scientists analyzed the surface of freshly prepared metal fillings and compared these with the surface of aged fillings (about 20 years old) from a dental clinic. Fresh fillings contained metallic mercury, which can be toxic. Aged fillings, however, typically contain a form of mercury, called beta-mercuric sulfide or metacinnabar, which is unlikely to be toxic in the body.

The scientists found that the surfaces of metal fillings seem to lose up to 95 percent of their mercury over time. Loss of potentially toxic mercury from amalgam may be due to evaporation, exposure to some kinds of dental hygiene products, exposure to certain foods, or other factors.

The scientists caution that "human exposure to mercury lost from fillings is still of concern."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. George et al. The Chemical Forms of Mercury in Aged and Fresh Dental Amalgam Surfaces. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2009; 22 (11): 1761 DOI: 10.1021/tx900309c

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Older dental fillings contain form of mercury unlikely to be toxic, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209121206.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, December 12). Older dental fillings contain form of mercury unlikely to be toxic, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209121206.htm
American Chemical Society. "Older dental fillings contain form of mercury unlikely to be toxic, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209121206.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins