Use of dental amalgam to be abandoned by 2030

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 26.6.2019 13.59 | Published in English on 27.6.2019 at 16.27
Press release 73/2019

In Finland, the use of dental amalgam has decreased from year to year. It is currently used for less than 1% of all dental fillings produced. The aim is to entirely abandon dental amalgam by the year 2030.

Dental amalgam is one of the most significant applications of mercury in the EU and an important source of environmental contamination. All EU countries are committed to an agreement to minimise and, where feasible, eliminate all man-made mercury releases.

Each EU country must therefore publish a national plan for the abolition of dental amalgam and the collection of accumulated amalgam waste.

Amalgam has been used in teeth because of its durability

Amalgam has been used in dental fillings for almost 200 years. Amalgam appears to be more durable and affordable than other filling materials, which is why some dentists still use it. However, most Finnish dentists do not use amalgam in dental fillings anymore.

Many Finns still have old amalgam fillings in their teeth due to the durability of the material.

Abandoning the use of amalgam will protect the environment

Dental amalgam toxicity has been extensively studied but there is no scientific proof of health risks from amalgam at population level. Abandoning the use of amalgam has been justified, in particular, on environmental grounds.

Removal of amalgam fillings produces waste. The collection of amalgam waste has been handled appropriately in Finland, but more instructions that are detailed are required for the recycling of secondary waste that has been contaminated with mercury. 

National action plan helps to abandon the use of amalgam

Although very little amalgam is used in Finland, its full abolition requires comprehensive cooperation with regard to material development, communications and education, among other things.

The report indicates that other materials can replace dental amalgam but it is necessary to continue the development of the new materials.

In addition, preventive treatment should be increased in order to reduce dental cavities and the need to use fillings.

Inquiries

Merja Auero, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 304