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Ban Amalgam? ADA Report

August 23rd, 2007 · No Comments

While the ADA has officially stated that amalgam is safe for consumers, many dentists and patients prefer composite resin fillings. Others want to ban amalgam completely. The ADA released an article this month entitled “Banning Amalgam Could Increase US Dental Costs by $8 Billion a Year” (

Based on “Economic Impact of Regulating the Use of Amalgam Restorations,” a research article that is available online (, the ADA posting explains how an amalgam ban would create a first-year consumer cost increase of $8.2 billion (18.7%), which is 10% of current dental expenditures. In addition, crown and composite resin placement would increase, and they are costlier than amalgams. It is predicted that there would be 15.44 million fewer restorations annually, because not all patients can afford composite resin fillings and/or crowns.

So, let’s say the ban would grandfather clause adults. If the ban only applied to children, it would cause a $1.1 billion increase the first year and a $13 billion increase over 15 years.

For those who can afford them, composite resins are the obvious preference. They contain no mercury and are certainly more attractive than amalgams, but should they be banned? The ADA article cites Dr. L. Jackson Brown, former ADA managing vice president for health policy, as stating in regards to an amalgam ban, “Dental care would cost more, and untreated caries is likely to increase. Unfortunately, this impact would fall disproportionately on the disadvantaged populations.”

For many, dental care is considered a luxury rather than a necessity. If an amalgam ban could keep some patients from the dental care they need, why ban it?

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