amalgamThe reduction in dental amalgam should be supported by investment in schemes to help prevent tooth decay, the BDA says.

The European Union decided to restrict the use of amalgam in dentistry in May 2017, and the British Dental Association (BDA) has called for investment into research and development on different materials to amalgam, to help support the phase down.

‘We support an environmentally-responsible phase down of amalgam in dental restorations, but are concerned that Government is setting a tone that is more reflective of unfounded health scares rather than any genuine evidence based health risks,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

‘Individual dentists are best placed to make clinical decisions on the most appropriate materials to use to restore damaged or decayed teeth in the best interests of each patient, and that includes amalgam.

‘There are well recognised situations where amalgam restorations may be preferable, if not the only realistic solution to ensure long lasting and durable solutions for our patients.

‘The phasing down of amalgam is substantial and needs to be thought through carefully and mustn’t be done on a whim or prayer.

‘UK Governments need to develop proper, funded strategies for prevention, especially in England and Northern Ireland, to deliver the scale of phase down required.’

Strictly necessary

EU regulations state that by July 2018, amalgam restorations should be restricted to instances ‘deemed strictly necessary’ in under-15s and pregnant patients.

There are now calls for a list of scenarios where placing an amalgam filling would be deemed acceptable, however the BDA is against such a list believing it couldn’t possibly cover all scenarios a clinician might come across.