Thursday, December 16, 2010

There is no place for mercury fillings in children

By Susan Heavey, Reuters

Enough uncertainty surrounds silver-colored metal dental fillings with mercury that U.S. regulators should add more cautions for dentists and patients, a U.S. advisory panel said on Wednesday.

While past data has backed the cavity treatment, the fillings should be accompanied by warnings about unknown risks for vulnerable people such as children and pregnant women, the Food and Drug Administration's panel of outside advisers said.

"There really is no place for mercury in children," Suresh Kotagal, a panelist and neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said of the toxic metal.

Metal fillings are used in millions of Americans' teeth to patch decay, but are increasingly being rejected in favor of bone-colored resin that is more eye-pleasing.

Mercury has been linked to neurological damage at high exposure levels and makes up about half of a metal filling.
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