This eye-opening video from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT.org) is worth more than a thousand words when it comes to illustrating the very real danger of mercury fillings. It contains a powerful visual demonstration of how mercury vapors are released into your oral cavity every time you chew, visit the dentist, or drink hot tea or coffee, for example. And these mercury vapors continue to be released for at least 1.5 hours after each stimulation.
The poisonous vapors are odorless, colorless and tasteless, so you can't tell when it's happening. But you can be sure that if you have so-called "silver fillings" in your mouth, you're continuously exposed to mercury, which passes readily through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier, and into your central nervous system, where it can cause psychological, neurological, and immunological problems.
Amalgams Are The Number One Source of Mercury Exposure
Dental amalgams are the primary source of mercury exposure in Americans. A single dental amalgam filling releases as much as 15 micrograms of mercury per day. The average individual has eight amalgam fillings and could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day. For comparison, eating mercury-tainted seafood will expose you to about 2.3 micrograms per day -- and that is enough for scientists to call for a worldwide warning!
Unfortunately, while many have become well aware of the dangers of environmental mercury contamination, few are as well-informed when it comes to the dangers posed by dental amalgams.
Sadly, only one in four people is aware that silver amalgams contain mercury, and the dental industry is capitalizing on that ignorance. Part of the problem is that the very name "silver fillings" seems to imply they are made of silver, a misdirection that has kept a good majority of consumers in the dark for a long time. Alas, amalgams consist of more than 50 percent mercury. When confronted about this, the industry response is that the term "silver" is meant to denote the color, not the constitution…
However, SOME dentists have also been actively persuaded to keep this information under tight wraps, and they are under no obligation whatsoever to inform their patients about the mercury content of amalgam fillings. As recently as 2009, the FDA ruled that no warning shall be issued to patients—not even to young women and parents of young children—that the mercury from the amalgam fillings is a reproductive toxin and a neurotoxin, despite the fact that pregnant women and young children are at greatest risk from mercury toxicity.
An Antiquated and Hazardous Dental Tool
In the words of Charlie Brown, president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry,
"Amalgam is a primitive, polluting, 19th century product that began when physicians were sawing off legs. Medicine has since moved forward." Unfortunately, this aspect of dentistry has not. The American Dental Association (ADA) continues to give amalgam (mercury) fillings their seal of approval, stating:[blockquote]"Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients."[/blockquote]
The height of irony is that dental amalgam is shipped as a hazardous material to the dental office, and any amalgam leftover is also treated as hazardous and requires special precautions to dispose of. Yet, most dentists will readily implant this hazardous material directly into your mouth, with assurances that it's perfectly safe and harmless!
The Health Hazards of Mercury Fillings
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can damage your brain, central nervous system and kidneys, and mixing it with other alloys and placing it in your mouth does NOT all of a sudden render it harmless... Children and fetuses whose brains are still developing are at greatest risk, but anyone can be affected. Naturally, the more amalgams you have, the greater your risk of experiencing health problems as a result.
In the featured video, they show that: When amalgam was placed in sheep, substantial quantities of mercury spread from the filling and accumulated in the animal's jaw, liver, kidney and stomach after just 30 days. The sheep's kidneys also dropped the ability to clear inulin by 60 percent—an indication of kidney malfunction. Antibiotic-resistant dystrophic bacteria was discovered in the primates' intestinal flora, within just two weeks of receiving mercury fillings.
Mercury fillings damage the ADP-ribosilation of brain neuronal proteins. When amalgam fillings were placed in pregnant sheep, mercury was immediately transferred to the placenta and every part of the fetus. After birth, the offspring's mercury levels continued to rise as a result of ingesting the mother's milk. Mercury is especially damaging to your central nervous system (CNS), and studies show that mercury in the CNS causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems including:
- Arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies
- Personality changes and irritability
- Blurred vision
- Slowed mental response
- Unsteady gait
To make matters worse, mercury bonds very firmly to structures in your central nervous system. Unless actively removed, mercury has an extremely long half-life of somewhere between 15 and 30 years!
BEWARE! Amalgams Must Be Removed PROPERLY
It should be clear that there's simply no such thing as a safe mercury filling. However, please do NOT make the mistake of having your amalgam fillings removed by a dentist who is not properly trained in safe amalgam removal. Doing so could expose you to tremendous health risks, due to the large amounts of mercury vapor being released during the removal process.
Research has shown that if you do not take proper safety precautions during the removal process, mercury levels in your blood can rise three to four-fold, which may result in acute toxicity.
SO PLEASE … Make sure to use a dentist that is trained in properly removing mercury fillings. Some things that need to be done to keep you (and your dentist) safe during the procedure include:
- Using a cold-water spray to minimize mercury vapors
- Putting a rubber dam in your mouth so you don't swallow or inhale any toxins
- Using a high-volume evacuator near the tooth at all times to evacuate the mercury vapor
- Washing your mouth out immediately after the fillings have been removed (the dentist should also change gloves after the removal)
- Immediately cleaning your protective wear and face once the fillings are removed.
Join the Fight to End the Use of Mercury in Dentistry!
During this Mercury-Free Dentistry Awareness Week, we urge you to help spread the word and help educate others by sharing this article with your social networks. Together, we can END the use of toxic mercury in dentistry.
To their credit, half of the dentists in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada no longer place mercury fillings; they always use mercury-free alternatives; they never use amalgam. Since they have made the transition to mercury-free dentistry, so could the other half. And Consumers for Dental Choice is here to make sure that they do.
Charlie Brown, who runs Consumers for Dental Choice, is headed to Nairobi in October to lead a worldwide delegation participating in the world mercury treaty negotiations. With him will be a team of dentists, consumers, attorneys, and scientists fighting to get amalgam into that treaty. With the world deciding whether we continue allowing mercury in children's mouths, much is at stake. Here's what you can do in your nation or state:
Americans: Our #1 problem is the Food and Drug Administration, which has partnered with the American Dental Association to cover up the mercury, to make you think you are getting silver instead of mercury in your mouth. The FDA intentionally conceals the warnings about amalgam deep in its regulation -- so parents will never see them. On its website, the FDA gives dentists the green light to continue to deceive consumers with the term "silver fillings"
"Americans are ready for the end of amalgam." This was the theme of the testimony to the U.S. Department of State on August 18 by former West Virginia state Senator Charlotte Pritt. Yes, Americans are ready. But FDA is not. So let's send them a message.
Nine months ago, FDA scientists advised the agency to disclose the mercury to all patients and parents, and to stop amalgam for children and pregnant women. Yet FDA sits – sits actually in the pocket of the American Dental Association – ignoring its own scientists.
Please write the Director of FDA's Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, email@example.com
Ask Dr Shuren why FDA continues to ignore the scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.
Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director Center for Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Admin. 10903 New Hampshire Ave. WO66-5431, Room 5442 Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 Telephone: 301-796-5900 Fax: 301-847-8149 Fax: 301-847-8109
We use no Mercury Amalgam fillings at Smile Columbia. The alternatives we employ are all bonded, tooth-colored restorations. For more information or answers to your questions about safe alternatives to amalgam fillings feel free to call us at (803) 781-9090 or contact us here at Smile Columbia.