New Dental Amalgam Will Eliminate Mercury Content

Journal of Environmental Health, December 1993 | Go to article overview

New Dental Amalgam Will Eliminate Mercury Content


A mercury-free, direct filling alternative for conventional dental amalgams is being developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The new restorative process uses metallic powders in a form that is easily applied to prepared tooth cavities by dentists using treatment procedures very similar to those in current practice.

The dental material is a collaborative effort between government and industry. The National Institute of Dental Research is contributing support for the program through the American Dental Association Health Foundation's Center for Excellence.

The new restorative process is based on NIST electrochemical powder technology. The technique was invented by David S. Lashmore, leader of the NIST Electrodeposition Group, and Moshe P. Dariel, guest scientist from the David Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Lashmore said that the mercury content of amalgams used in the overwhelming majority of dental restoratives continues to raise concern with regard to their long-term effect on public health and the environment. The new alloy will help reduce the amount of mercury dispersed in the environment by dental waste.

Joyce Reese, NIDR program director for Biomaterials, Pulp Biology and Dental Implants, notes that although there is no scientific evidence linking mercury in amalgam to systemic diseases, the new NIST mercury-free, dental restorative material meets an important objective of the National Institute of Dental Research to find alternative materials for conventional dental amalgams. …

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