Are Your Mercury Fillings Making You Sick?
Those shiny, silver “amalgam” fillings. Many, many of us have had them, especially if you are over the age of 40. Yet, my friends, these seemingly harmless silver fillings are filled with 50% mercury. (YES, that much mercury!) I just returned from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) Conference. This incredible week of courses and lectures really opened my eyes to the health crisis these seemingly innocuous silver mercury fillings can cause. They can do damage to our body, our children, and overall health. I have much to share with you so grab a beverage (sweetened with xylitol!), get comfy, and read on!
Mercury Silver Fillings
Mercury dental fillings have been in use for over 200 years old. The first filling done was in 1816 by combining mercury with shavings from silver coins. The idea of mixing mercury
with silver was brought to the United States in 1833. By 1850, it was banned for use by the American Society of Dental Surgeons. A pro-mercury group then founded the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1859. The ADA won that argument and is still supporting the use of mercury fillings even to this day. More on the ADA’s position shortly.
Methylmercury is the most toxic of the toxic metals. It is ten times more toxic than lead. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), mercury is one of the top ten chemicals of major health concern. It’s a natural element, found within the earth’s crust, which goes to show not everything that’s natural is good for you. It is a neurotoxin! A poison that we knowingly place in our body! It affects the nerves, digestive and immune systems, the lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes. It can concentrate in the cord blood to the fetus. It can pass through to the placenta and has devastating effects on the developing fetus with connections to autism. The WHO does state a major source of methylmercury is seafood consumption, however, they ignore the mercury filling just placed in your tooth which has over a half gram of mercury and emits an average of 13 micrograms of vapor per day. Yes, that’s true – vapors are emitted with placement of the fillings, as well as during toothbrushing, chewing, clenching, and grinding, not to mention when a dental hygienist polishes your teeth!
That’s from one mercury filling, and most folks have on average eight or more. It was thought for many years that mixing mercury with the silver, tin, copper and other metals to make what we call amalgam fillings render the mercury inert. This is completely false. As you can see, these teeth emit a vapor with each chew, brush and even more with heat release.
This video is re-posted with permission from the IOAMT. Please take the time it watch this video, especially at the 20 minute mark. Watch what mercury does to our nerve fibers.
Where does the mercury go that’s released from these fillings? Eighty percent goes to the lungs where it is transferred to the blood system and heads off to your kidneys, liver and brain. It’s been directly connected to over 40 chronic health ailments in the human body such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , Multiple Sclerosis (MS), stroke and Parkinson’s. It is neurotoxic and kills brain and nerve cells. It can pass the blood-brain barrier. It affects the function of the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, enzyme production and many hormonal functions at very low levels of exposure. It makes folks crazy – remember the Mad Hatter? While Johnny Depp didn’t portray the actual symptoms of “mad hatter’s disease”, milliners were actually exposed to mercury vapors and suffered the consequences. Could this be the cause of criminal behaviors? Yes, quite possibly! It can be connected to depression, infertility, birth defects, chronic fatigues syndrome, chemical sensitivity, and the list goes on! Read the FDA report by Bernard Windham or read this paper by Dr. David Kennedy.
Mercury, once exposed, stays in the body for a long, long time – upwards of 17 years.
Long ago, (but not long enough) dental staff were taught how to manually mix mercury with the rest of the metals. Yes, we had a mercury dispenser and then mixed it in a dappen dish. THEN! OMG! we placed it in a squeeze cloth and, barehanded, twisted the metal alloy to squeeze out the excess mercury. I admit I did that when I was young, naive and very foolish. I know of dentists now that have nerve issues, and at a minimum, their hands shake. Do they have mercury poisoning? Quite possibly.
Bottom line: There is no safe level of mercury in the body. Not for patients or for dental personnel. Most dentists and their staff have toxic levels of mercury in their body. New research suggests methylmercury causes damage even at low levels.
Why Mercury Affects Some People and Not Others?
Just as some folks can smoke and drink and live to 90 without any ill health effects, so too is it that some people can live unaffected by mercury fillings. It’s because of their genes, their genetic makeup. There are people who can more easily rid their body of mercury. Those with the gene APOE2 have the best genetic makeup for binding and removing mercury atoms into the cerebrospinal fluid and out into the blood. However, people with the APO-E4 gene are more at risk for contracting Alzheimer’s disease – these same folks also appear to have lost the capacity to bind mercury.
Also, there are different formulas that make up mercury fillings. In the 1970’s there was a high copper amalgam filling marketed which had a much higher release of mercury into the body.
The American Dental Association Position on Mercury Fillings
The ADA says there’s no harm in having mercury fillings. They say these fillings are safe. They even imposed a gag order on dentists to prohibit them from saying differently.
Yet the research I have found says otherwise. Why is the ADA fighting to keep mercury fillings on the table? I can’t say at this time. My guess – mercury fillings are cheap to place, quick to place and are long-lasting. However, they may eventually cause the tooth to break, (Metal expands and contracts with heat and cold, your tooth is not as flexible as the filling and will have cracks and may break at some point. ) Thus, you’ll need a bigger filling. Sounds like a win-win for the dental community. This is big business.
My other thought is liability – if the ADA reverses their position on mercury and claims it’s toxic, who should pay to have these fillings removed? Then there’s the toxic exposure of all the dental health care workers. That’s another can of worms and thus, I think, that’s why this is swept under the rug.
In addition, there are other groups that claim these fillings are safe. They have formed a group called Quackwatch and smear dentists that do question and challenge traditional thinking. The legal fees from these lawsuits keep dentists from sticking their neck out and being vocal opponents of mercury fillings, as well as any other controversial positions. (Stay tuned to these pages as I write about these other ideas 😉 )
Here’s the deal – everyone is free to seek the dental care they desire. The anti-mercury folks have their research and it appears solid to me. I will never work in a traditional dental office that doesn’t take mercury removal seriously. I would never recommend my children or family have any type of mercury filling.
Outside-the-box thinking should not be ridiculed. Do your own research and do what is best for you and your family.
How Do I Know if I Have Mercury Fillings?
Mercury fillings are… well, silver-gray in color! For a coupla bucks you can purchase a plastic hand mirror and take a look yourself. Or, you can ask your trusty dental hygienist how many mercury fillings you still have in your mouth. Now, what do you do with this knowledge?! They need to come out safely.
Safely Remove Mercury Fillings
It’s important to remove these fillings SAFELY. If not, you’ll inhale all the mercury vapors once the dental drill heats them up. That drill creates gas and particulate. Particulates are the chunks of mercury fillings. Often they are left in the mouth, floating around and can be swallowed.
Here’s the thing – the amount of mercury in one filling is equal to the amount of mercury in a thermometer. IF anything more than a thermometer (with .61 grams of mercury) broke in say a school they would have to evacuate that school, call in a professional Haz-Mat team, and remove it under these professional conditions. One filling has one half a gram of mercury. What I don’t know is how big that “filling” would be – sometimes fillings are small – a one surface filling, sometimes they are huge, a five surface filling. Would a five surface filling have 2.5 grams of mercury? Quite possibly! I am not able to sleuth out on dental company websites exactly how much mercury is in each carpule. Regardless, it’s mercury and your lungs should NOT inhale it. Again, there’s no safe level of mercury.
The “SMART” Way to Remove Mercury Fillings
Correct way to remove mercury fillings requires more than just a dental drill and high evacuation suction. It requires a full on “SMART” protocol – Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique.
Removing these fillings properly requires a rubber dam to keep things from falling down your throat, the correct suction device at source aerosol evacuation system placed right by your mouth, a nasal cannulae into your nose or other nasal breathing apparatus to prevent your breathing the mercury vapors, while covering and protecting your face, hair, body and eyes.
Your dental team needs that same protection. If they don’t cover you and them up, I’d recommend you LEAVE – immediately, and find another dental office. When I assist my dentist in mercury removal, we both wear full-on respirator masks for the drilling and mercury removal. Very sexy! Then we clean up, flush tubing, remove the suction filters, and only then place the new, non-mercury fillings. Be sure to ask your dental team if they practice SMART mercury removal. If they don’t know what you are talking about, time to leave. You can look up certified SMART offices here.
Dental Office Pollution
Dental offices are responsible for most of the mercury pollution into our wastewater systems. According to a United States Geological survey dental mercury fillings are the leading cause of mercury pollution. That’s crazy! There’s an estimated 35.2 tons of mercury into our water systems a year. That’s 250 milligrams per day per dentist that is disposed into the waste water out of dental offices. It settles into sludge, is then either incinerated and becomes mercury vapor, or used as biosolids and fertilizer and contaminates the soil. Your dental office should have a mercury separator and do proper hazardous waste disposal. Your dentist is “encouraged” to practice proper mercury handling but it’s not required until 2020.
Human bodies that are cremated also give off mercury vapors into the atmosphere.
Where to Go From Here??!
#1. Find a biological dentist – check out the IAOMT website for a dental team near you that practices SMART mercury removal. SMART stands for: Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique.
#2. Ask about their removal techniques. You don’t want them cutting corners. There may be an extra charge for the equipment and safe removal protocols. They should have an amalgam separator, high volume air filtration system, and much more- Read here for all the proper protocols. It’s for your safety, and you’re worth it.
#3. Before and after removal they will have you do a pre and post operative rinse with charcoal or chlorella.
#4. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have any mercury fillings placed or removed.
#5. Dental insurance may not cover the higher priced white fillings, so many folks just get new mercury fillings. Please, for your health and that of your family, spend the extra money and get an upgrade.
That said, there is no perfect dental material. Each has its drawbacks and negative sides. The very best dentistry is still NO dentistry- practice prevention and take the very best care of your teeth and mouth. IF you get tooth decay and cavities, seek out a biological dental hygienist, read and learn. My blog offers many tips and lots of education on cavity prevention. If you need more help, email me. I’ll help steer you in the right direction.
Dental Philosophy Changes
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 – 1860)
Hopefully we are almost at the third stage. Remember, there is no safe level of mercury.
“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
As I learn more, I’ll continue sharing about mercury fillings. While I knew that mercury was harmful, I had been told in school mercury was inert once it has triturated or mixed. Now, with all this evidence in front of me, I see I was told a lie. Would I ever allow my family to have mercury fillings placed?? No, not ever! Knowing this, I now need to rethink and research my position on thimerosal, the mercury used as a preservative in some vaccinations. Stretch and grow along with me! There are so many more falsehoods to expose.
Keep smiling my friends!
Barbara Tritz RDH, BS
Biological Dental Hygienist
Specialist in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy