Mercury In Dental Fillings: Is It Safe?

Mercury In Dental Fillings: Is It Safe?

The answer is no! Mercury is a liquid metal (also known as quicksilver). It constantly gives off vapor. Dental amalgam is made by mixing an alloy (comprised of silver, copper, tin and zinc) with mercury. The proportions of mercury to alloy are 50 per cent each by weight. Until recently, dental schools and dental associations have stated that mercury is bound in the amalgam filling. Now there is admission that a small amount of mercury vapor is emitted from the amalgam, but not sufficient enough to cause any health problems.

On November 27, 1995 a very interesting event occurred. Health Canada released copies of Dr Mark Richardson's report on mercury exposure. It was entitled Assessment of Mercury Exposure and Risks from Dental Amalgam. The report estimates the total exposure of the Canadian population to mercury from food, the environment and dental amalgam and concludes the exposure for adults from amalgam is 50 per cent. For other age groups it is 32-42 per cent.

Maximum Amalgam Exposure

The report also estimates the number of amalgam fillings that will not cause exposure to mercury in excess of the tolerable daily intake (TDI). According to Richardson, a maximum of one filling for children, three for teenagers and one for adults is safe. According to Olson and Bergman (as noted in Dr Richardson's report) no amalgams should be placed in children and a maximum of two for teenagers, adults and seniors.

The estimates that a specific number of fillings are safe is flawed. The flaw is that mercury is a poison and every individual reacts differently. To some, one filling is too many. Research has shown that mercury vapor is constantly emitted from amalgam and increases six to seven times during eating or bruxing (grinding of the teeth).

Research carried out in universities and published in peer reviewed journals implicates mercury as an immune system suppressant, as a major factor in Alzheimer's disease, as causing antibiotic resistant organisms in the intestines and as affecting kidney function.

Everyone reacts differently to mercury. Many people are apparently unaffected by a large number of fillings, yet others are affected severely by a small number of fillings. There is a question of the degree of allergic and/or toxic effect.

Will the removal of amalgams be beneficial?

For the majority with health problems, yes. For some, no. It is impossible to predict beforehand what will be the response. It is affected by the length of time the mercury has been present, by the degree of tissue damage and whether or not the mercury is removed from the tissues.

The removal of mercury from the tissues is vital. It is the mercury in the tissues that is the problem. Blood and urine tests only indicate the concentration of mercury in the blood or urine; they do not indicate the amount of mercury in the tissues. Biopsy is needed to determine the concentration in the tissues; however the concentration varies from organ to organ and tissue to tissue. The value of blood and urine tests only becomes relevant to monitor the removal of the mercury from the tissues. Mercury needs to be assisted to leave the tissues. This can be achieved by 1) a vitamin program including selenium; 2) intravenous chelation; or 3) homeopathics.

The majority of dentists and physicians do not believe that mercury from dental amalgam fillings is a major factor in health problems. One of the reasons for this skepticism is the long list of symptoms which can be the result of mercury allergy or toxicity. Also, blood and urine tests will show normal while there is mercury in the tissues. Mercury suppresses the immune system and there are direct effects on the neurological system, brain and organs.

Complicating factors include other heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, other chemicals, smoking and high fat diets which can mask and/or accentuate the effects of mercury.

One's health advisor needs to take all these possibilities into consideration. However, where mercury is concerned the first step is to remove its sources. One of the prime sources is amalgam fillings.

It is important that it be understood that the removal of amalgam fillings does not benefit everyone. One should be aware that in having the fillings removed and replaced with other materials, there is the risk that teeth can be sensitive or develop nerve problems. Whenever a tooth has cavity treatment or fillings changed there is some trauma to the nerve. If nerve problems occur it can mean requiring root canal treatment or removal of the tooth. Root canal treatment is now controversial and has been questioned strongly.

Nothing is easy. The removal of these fillings gives off considerable mercury vapor. The procedure must be done under rubber dam with high volume suction and plenty of water. It is helpful to use a canula into the nostrils to supply pure medical air or oxygen. This markedly reduces possible effects of the mercury vapor during the removal procedure.

It has been recommended by Dr Huggins (author of It's All In Your Head) to remove the fillings utilizing sequential removal. This is controversial but when it is considered that the teeth are connected to the organs and muscles via the Chinese meridian system, it becomes logical.

The nervous and meridian systems function as extensive electrical systems. Electrical currents can be measured in teeth with metal fillings and these can be positive or negative. It is reasonable to extrapolate that these currents can have other effects including the period during the removal of amalgams. It seems that Huggin's recommendations are correct.

Recommendations to consider:

Do not have new amalgam fillings placed for any reason.
If you have health problems serious thought should be given to changing the fillings. Steps need to be taken to remove the mercury and the metals from the tissues.
My conclusions are the result of many years of general dental practice including more than 11 years of practicing without mercury. Rest assured that many people do recover their health, but it can take time.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Rex E. Fortescue

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