Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting primarily of mercury. Other metals, such as silver, tin, and copper, may also be present. Dental amalgam is a material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. Since they have a silver appearance, amalgam fillings are often called “silver” fillings.
What is mercury toxicity?
Mercury toxicity is another name for mercury poisoning. It’s an illness caused by high levels of mercury in the body.
Do amalgam fillings pose a health risk?
There are two opinions: No health risk: Many dentists feel amalgam fillings are safe. They argue that amalgam fillings have been in use for over 150 years. They also point out that they and their families have these fillings and only a small percentage of the population is sensitive to them. There is, however, no way to identify those who may be sensitive. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that amalgam fillings are safe, based on current research data. The ADA, however, supports ongoing research in the safety of all existing dental materials. For more information, go to ada.org. Substantial health risk:Many researchers, particularly toxicologists (scientists who determine what is toxic or safe), feel there are great risks associated with amalgam fillings and they question whether they should be used at all. One researcher (Cutter, 1999) argued that “millions of people are being poisoned by mercury compounds the medical profession is exposing them to.” References:
- Cutler, AH. Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment. Andrew Hall Cutler, 1996.
- Weiner JA & Nylander M. “Aspects on Health risks of mercury from Dental Amalgams.” In Chang LW, ed., Toxicology of Metals. Boca Raton, CRC, 1996; 469-486.
Should amalgam fillings be removed?
Some dentists argue that amalgam fillings should not be removed for several reasons.
- “All the mercury has already leaked out…”
- “Additional tooth structure will be lost…”
- “The patient will be exposed to toxic levels of mercury vapor being released as the fillings are drilled out…”
If you’re concerned about amalgam fillings causing health problems, however, there’s good news. Amalgam fillings can be safely replaced, but only by dentists trained in mercury removal. These would include systemic, biological and holistic dentists. These dentists can not only protect patients (and themselves) but can easily preserve tooth structure.
What are the dental and systemic risks both during and after amalgam removal? Dental Risks: Cracked or fractured teeth – from weak teeth Sensitivity – from inflamed dental nerves Nerve loss – from nerve degeneration Tooth loss – from nerve devitalization (death of the tooth?) Systemic Risks (Symptoms or Diseases)
Neurological Disorders: Anxiety Panic attacks Depression (new or deep) Irritability Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s Amylotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Sleep disorder Schizophrenia Borderline personality Obsessive-compulsive disorder Myasthenia gravis Ankylosing spondylitis Manic-depression Sciatica
Immunological disorders: Autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s, asthma, lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis) Th2 Dominance disorders IgG sensitivity IgE mediated allergies Class III mercury-induced hypersensitivity Chronic infection syndromes (such as Lyme, co-infections, and Epstein-Barr)
Detoxification Disorders: Multiple chemical sensitivities Environmental illness Chronic fatigue Skin rashes “Crashes” Kidney dysfunction (loss of glomerular filtration with increased bun and serum creatinine) Liver dysfunction (glutathione, selenium and sulphur depletion, resulting in increased susceptibility to heavy metal toxicity, radiation toxicity, chemical intolerances and mold and fungal mycotoxins).
Digestive Disorders: Acute and chronic gastritis Maldigestion Malabsorption Intestinal dysbiosis Yeast/candida overgrowth Irritable bowel disorder (IBD) Crohn’s disease.
Endocrine Disorders: Thyroid disorders Adrenal insufficiency Pancreatic stress (blood sugar disorders) Kidney disorders (regulation of blood pressure)
Do the current standards for amalgam removal protect patients against additional risks? No instruction or training is taught in dental school for safe amalgam removal. Basic mercury training is offered by various post-graduate institutes to instruct dentists in proper removal of amalgam fillings and patient protection from vapor. Institutes include:
- Institute for Nutritional Dentistry
- Holistic Dental Association
- International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM)
- International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the release of mercury into the environment. In addition, the NJ EPA requires dentists to use amalgam separators which remove amalgam particles from dental office waste water. It also advises the public to select non-mercury containing fillings. For more information go to epa.gov. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) regulates the protection of dental staff but not patients. For more information, go to osha.gov.
Is there a more comprehensive protocol which can protect patients from these risks, while maintaining dental and systemic health? The Comprehensive Examination
- History including dental and systemic (medical).
- Four key dental examinations: teeth, dental nerve, gums (periodontal) and the bite.
- Identification of key dental and systemic risk factors.
- Biocompatibility testing and other tests.
- Consultation with physicians and other practitioners.
The Treatment Plan
- Restoration selection.
- Material selection.
- Pre-Amalgam removal phase.
- Amalgam removal phase.
- Discussing dental risks, including potential sensitivity, tooth loss and nerve loss.
- Addressing systemic risks before amalgam removal.
- Consultations on systemic function: immune, detoxification and elimination systems and genetic testing
Day of Treatment
- Pre-treatment preparation
Amalgam Removal Process
- Basic patient protection for mercury vapor
- Additional systemic precautions
- Additional dental precautions
- Four-day follow-up process
- Post-treatment options
- Chronic antibiotic resistant infections may now respond to therapy
- Intestinal dysbiosis and allergies may also respond to therapy