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Published on September 11th, 2015 | by Guest Contributor

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Dr. Ross Chiaramonte Helps Appease Concerns about Dental Amalgam

The debate over the safety of dental amalgam was raised again earlier this year. The cause of the renewed interest in dental amalgam centers around the mercury that is used in conjunction with other materials in the filling process. However, low levels of mercury have been used for over 150 years globally to fill decaying teeth. Reports even indicate that amalgam may be a better choice than other materials that are also used to fill teeth. “Available evidence shows that amalgam dental filling often lasts longer and can be less expensive than other types of fillings, helping make quality dental care more affordable for patients,”Sharon Turner, Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry wrote.

The American Dental Association (ADA)considers dental amalgam to be a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth and increase the oral health of more than 100 million Americans. It is made with a specific combination of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury. The ingredients are used in conjunction with one another because the unique mixture binds the components into a hard, stable and safe substance.
Over the century and half that amalgam has been in use, there have been numerous studies on the effects of the mercury in amalgam on the body.In 2008, a European based scientific commission published a report addressing safety concerns for patients, and dental professionals and the use of alternative restorative materials.The committee concluded that dental amalgams are effective and safe, both for patients and dental personnel and also noted that alternative materials are not without clinical limitations and toxicological hazards.”

It is estimated that 96 percent of all Canadian adults have at least one tooth filled, with the average being 10 fillings. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) supports the use of amalgam for a number of reasons, and released an official statement on the use of amalgam: “Current scientific evidence on the use of dental amalgam supports that amalgam is an effective and safe filling material that provides a long-lasting solution for a broad range of clinical situations,” the statement read. “Dental amalgam delivers benefits over other filling materials with respect to ease of use and longevity, especially in patients with a high risk of tooth decay.”

Family dental practitioner and former veteran’s hospital dentist, Dr. Ross Chiaramonte, uses amalgams as well as other filling composites at his dental clinic in Owen Sound, Ontario. Owen Sound’s Dr. Chiaramonte supports the use of amalgam to treat and prevent tooth decay. “Amalgam helped revolutionize dentistry when it was introduced 165 years ago,” Dr. Ross Chiaramonte said. “Amalgam has prevented millions of painful extractions and contributed to better quality of life for thousands of people.”

When asked about mercury poisoning concerns, the southern Ontario dentist stated, “The average Canadian adult absorbs approximately nine millionths of a gram per day of mercury through a variety of sources.” Dr. Ross Chiaramonte continued, “Of that dental amalgam only contributes about three millionths of a gram per day.”

Opponents of dental amalgam have called for the mass removal and abolishment of dental amalgam, to which the CDA responded, “It is considered unnecessary and ill-advised to replace functional or serviceable dental amalgam fillings (restorations) for safety concerns or perceived health needs.”

Dr. Ross Chiaramonte urges patients to discuss concerns with their dentist. “We are here to help and advise our patients, we would never intentionally put harmful materials in their mouth, we promote mouth health, “Dr. Chiaramonte said. “Ultimately it is up to the patient, but my job is to make sure they are informed and make the best possible decision for their circumstance.”

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