One thing all holistic or biological dentists share is the belief that mercury has no place in dentistry. Yet a great many dentists continue to use it in the form of dental amalgam – more than 160 years since it was introduced.
What Is Dental Amalgam?
The word “amalgam” just means a mixture of metals. The mixture used to make “silver” fillings is mostly mercury, one of the most toxic elements there is.
Mercury is a known neurotoxin, meaning it is poisonous to the brain and central nervous system. It is also bioaccumulative, building up in living tissues over time. While the human body has defense systems for removing such toxins, not everyone can do so efficiently. As mercury accumulates – especially in the fatty tissues – symptoms of mercury toxicity begin to arise.
Conditions that have been attributed to mercury toxicity include Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders; MS, ALS and other autoimmune disorders; chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), fibromyalgia and other “enigmatic” disorders.
For many years, it was assumed that once mercury amalgam was placed in a tooth, it became stable. Yet we now know that the normal pressures of biting, chewing and grinding cause mercury vapor to be released. The elemental mercury is soon converted to even more dangerous methylmercury in the mouth and elsewhere in the body.
Should I Get My Mercury Fillings Removed?
The mere presence of amalgam isn’t reason enough to remove them immediately, especially if no symptoms have arisen or testing confirms that they aren’t a likely trigger of illness. Some people can tolerate these fillings for years with little ill effect.
Ultimately, it’s up to each patient to decide. We provide our patients with information on their options and the risks and benefits of each. We encourage them to read and explore widely, learning as much as they can so their choice – whatever it is – will be a truly informed one.
Removing Mercury Amalgam Safely
When a patient has an amalgam filling that needs to be replaced or when they ask us to remove them, we always follow strict IAOMT protocols to protect the health of patient, dental team and environment alike. These include:
- Using efficient suction with a special tip to contain amalgam particles and mercury vapor.
- Using a vacuum system at maximum efficiency.
- Using copious amounts of water on the filling during removal.
- Removing the amalgam in large chunks to minimize vapor and particulate matter.
- Using adequate air filters and providing patient and staff with a mercury-free source of air.
You can read the complete protocol here.