In the clearest sign yet that amalgam is headed to the dustbins of history, Dentsply Sirona – the world’s largest manufacturer of dental products – has exited the amalgam market. In its annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this industry behemoth quietly noted: “[W]e have discontinued sales for all amalgam products as of December 2020.”
The coup de grâce for Dentsply appears to have been U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation against amalgam use in high-risk populations. As Dentsply explained:
“In September 2020, the FDA issued an updated recommendation that certain people are at higher risk for health problems from mercury-containing amalgam dental fillings, such as pregnant women and their developing fetuses, women who are planning to become pregnant, nursing women and their newborns and infants, children, especially those younger than six years of age, people with pre-existing neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer disease, or Parkinson disease, people with impaired kidney function, and people with a known allergy to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.”
The end of Dentsply amalgam sales culminates an eight-year campaign U.S.-based Consumers for Dental Choice led to convincing Dentsply that its financial and reputational future was not in making a mercury product. They organized a grassroots campaign on Dentsply’s home turf of York, Pennsylvania, circulating petitions, writing letters, providing expertise to market analyses, and holding a well-publicized news conference less than a mile from company headquarters.