Mercury dental fillings set to be phased out
Mercury fillings are being phased out from Sunday and will no longer be used as dental treatment for children under 15 or pregnant and breastfeeding women unless deemed strictly necessary.
Dr Kieran O'Connor, president of the Irish Dental Association, said the new rule was mainly aimed at reducing the amount of mercury in the environment.
"Placing or removing amalgam fillings can cause mercury waste to be released into the environment. However, it will continue to be a treatment option for all other patients for the time being" he said.
Dentist Dr Eamon Croke added: "Dental amalgam has been in use for over 150 years and its safety and reliability has been well researched.
"In certain circumstances a dental amalgam filling may be the best option to achieve a safe and satisfactory outcome and if that is the case the dentist will explain why.
"However, if a patient doesn't agree, they should say it to their dentist so alternative arrangements can be put in place.
"Medical card patients should also note that dentists are not permitted to provide them with white fillings for their back teeth."