Amalgam ban ‘sends shockwaves’

The European Parliament has voted to ban dental amalgam from 1 January 2025. The British Dental Association (BDA) says it is a decision that will “send shockwaves across already struggling dental services”.

Amalgam is the most common material for NHS permanent fillings across the UK. Last July, the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Mercury Regulation, to introduce a total phase-out of the use of dental amalgam and prohibit its manufacture and export from the EU from 1 January 2025 – five years earlier than expected.

In a letter to the UK’s four Chief Dental Officers (CDOs), the BDA said that there were currently no alternative restorative materials that compete with amalgam on the speed of placement or longevity.

It urged the CDOs to work together to adopt a renewed focus on prevention to reduce the need for dental restorations, work with industry to secure an ongoing supply of amalgam and work with the BDA to ensure that there is no financial impact on dentists from the need to use alternative materials.

“Without action a ban will eat into clinical time and resource that are in short supply, likely creating further access barriers,” said a BDA spokesperson.

They said Northern Ireland will be disproportionately affected, not just because of Brexit but because of the state of the health service in the region, the weakest in the UK with the longest waiting lists and the highest use of the filler.

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Published: 11 March, 2024 at 06:37