AGD president-elect testifies on amalgam at FDA hearing

Sept. 8, 2006
Testimony was in support of using dental amalgam as a viable option to treat dental decay.

CHICAGO--Dr. Vincent C. Mayher, DMD, president-elect of the Academy of General Dentistry, testified recently in support of using dental amalgam as a viable option to treat dental decay.

The hearing was conducted at the Food and Drug Administration's Joint Meeting of the Dental Products Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee of the
Center for Devices and Radiological Health and the Peripheral and Central
Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee of the Center for Drug Evaluation
and Research.

"While much of the testimony and literature is usually focused on the scientific aspects of the safety of dental amalgam, in the end, it all comes down to two people--the practicing dentist and the patient, who places his or her trust in their dentist," testified Dr. Mayher.

The hearing was preceded by the FDA's conclusion, after reviewing 34 research studies, that there has been no significant new information that would change its determination that mercury-based fillings do not harm patients, except in the rare case of an allergic reaction. Numerous other witnesses at the hearing agreed with the FDA's conclusion.

Dr. Mayher stressed that credible institutions and federal agencies have
"validated the safety of dental amalgam, time and time again, aided by many
years of research." He added that, "I have placed amalgams in my immediate
family members' mouths in the past, and I would not hesitate to do so in the

Amalgam is safe to use and performs better than any other restorative material when placed in a moist environment. Further, many alternative treatments, such as crown and bridge work or gold onlays, are prohibitively more expensive and may not be an option for some patients. Therefore, using this restorative material is a matter of choice for the consumer--the patient.

"Until such time as amalgam, or any other restorative material previously
approved for use in this country, is determined by credible sources to have
detrimental effects on a patient's health, and on society, the decision whether or not to place this material should be made by educated consumers under the guidance of his or her dentist," concluded Dr. Mayher.