Patients give meaning to changes in health complaints before, during and after the replacement of amalgam restorations

Emily Levey (Lead / Corresponding author), Susan Carson, Nicola Innes

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Qualitative, explorative and reflexive thematic analysis.

Semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out with 12 participants who had all taken part in a previous amalgam removal trial. Follow-up; three months and one, three and five years after amalgam restoration removal and replacement. Interviews were carried out by two researchers at a different location from clinical follow-up. Transcripts were analysed by reading through the written material to establish common themes. NVivo9 software was used to assist further organising themes. Themes were then refined and condensed into the presented findings, which included selected quotes.

The authors found the following themes to be important to patients in giving meaning to health complaints before, during and after amalgam removal:
Something is not working: betrayed by the body
You are out there on your own
Not being sure of the importance of amalgam removal
The relief experienced after amalgam is removed
To accept, to give up, or to continue the search.

For this group of patients, it was important to remove dental amalgam restorations. However, it remains uncertain of how critical this actually was in relation to their experienced changes in health complaints, as they did not feel that they could credit all positive change to the amalgam removal. For some participants it meant this was no longer a source of worry and for others it helped them move towards accepting their health status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-101
Number of pages2
JournalEvidence-Based Dentistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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