FDA Issues an Amalgam warning.

FDA Issues Recommendations for Certain High-Risk Groups Regarding Mercury-Containing Dental Amalgam. Included in the groups of people where amalgam fillings are NOT recommended include:

  • Pregnant women and their developing fetuses;
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant;
  • Nursing women and their newborns and infants;
  • Children, especially those younger than six years of age;
  • People with pre-existing neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
  • People with impaired kidney function; and
  • People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

Many dental insurance plans already pay for composite fillings in many cases, but how many plans will have to change their benefit structure to accommodate the FDA’s warning?

Will that change be driven by employers and consumers demanding their benefits accommodate the FDA position, or will dental plans be proactive in making changes to their benefits?

The American Dental Association had its thoughts on the matter:

While the FDA cites certain groups that may be at greater risk for potential negative effects from exposure to mercury, the agency states that “little to no information” is known about the effects dental amalgam may have on these specific groups. There was no new scientific evidence cited as part of the FDA recommendation.

So basically, as I interpret the ADA response, they call the statement a big nothing burger, and that it provides no imperative for changing dental practices, and presumably the dental benefits that pay for them.

For those that want more, at the FDA’s Immunology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee Meeting the Epidemiological Evidence on the Adverse Health Effects Reported in Relation to Mercury from Dental Amalgam: Systematic Literature Review (2010-Present) was entered into the record.