Amalgam Restoration Safety

Amalgam, the silver colored dental restoration material used to fill cavities, has received much attention as it contains small amounts of mercury.

However, the mercury is bound in a stable matrix and the level of mercury released is minimal. In 2020, the FDA published a report that certain groups may be at greater risk for potential harmful health effects of mercury vapor released from the device.

The FDA now recommends that certain high-risk groups avoid getting dental amalgam whenever possible including:

  • Pregnant women and their developing fetuses
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant
  • Nursing women and their newborns and infants

Options include waiting until after these periods or using alternatives such as composite resin, glass ionomer, porcelain, and gold.

Composite resin is most popular due to being white and moderate cost.

Amalgam Restorations

Ellen Eisenberg, DMD
Ellen Eisenberg, DMD


Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Life Span. Committee Opinion No 569. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;122:417-22.

FDA Issues Recommendations for Certain High-Risk Groups Regarding Mercury-Containing Dental Amalgam Accessed 9/28/2020.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Guideline on Perinatal Oral Health Care. Revised 2011. 33(6): 118-123.

World Health Organization. Exposure to mercury: a major public health concern. Geneva, Switz: World Health Organization; 2007. Accessed 2009 Mar 31.

Hujoel PP, Lydon-Rochelle M, Bollen AM, et al. Mercury exposure from dental filling placement during pregnancy and low birth weight risk. Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Apr 15; 161(8):734-40.

Bates MN, Fawcett J, Garrett N, et al. Health effects of dental amalgam exposure: a retrospective cohort study. Int J Epidemiol. 2004; 33(4):894-902.