Amalgam fillings restricted in under-15s over use of mercury
The use of silver fillings in baby teeth and children under the age of 15 will be restricted from today.
The move comes following an EU directive and restricts the use of the amalgam fillings in children except when strictly necessary.
The directive is part of an EU push to reduce the release of mercury into the environment.
It also restricts amalgam fillings for pregnant or breastfeeding women, again unless deemed necessary by the dental practitioner.
Northern Ireland's Chief Dental Officer Simon Reid said dentists across the UK have been avoiding amalgam when treating pregnant women for the last 20 years.
"The new EU directive is not a reflection on any specific safety concerns and there is no evidence of any real direct health risk from amalgam," he said. "Methods used by dentists in its preparation, use, and disposal, already reduce any exposure to mercury.
"Your dental professional will be able to offer you the best advice for your situation and explain what filling material is most appropriate for your needs.
"This may still be amalgam. It is still an effective filling material for particular situations, and the EU and UK Regulations allow exemptions when amalgam can be safely used in the same way that it has for many years."
Mr Reid added people should work to prevent the need for fillings by minimising dental decay.