Are your silver fillings making you sick?

Every time you eat or chew, no matter how conscientious you are about your health, you could be slowly but surely poisoning yourself?

This is the startling conclusion which could be drawn after reviewing the available articles which discuss something most people have in great numbers and which they take for granted…their silver dental fillings. The silver dental filling, also called amalgam, is a mixture of metals, predominantly silver and tin with some copper and zinc, which are mixed with mercury. The percentage of mercury is between 40% and 40%. After mixing alloy-mercury complexes are formed. These complexes, along with small amounts of free mercury, were thought to be stable and it is the question of their safety and stability which now concerns many researchers.

Dr B Hellewell, a British metallurgist and consultant on mercury hazards, has written:
‘…All forms of mercury have the potential to be converted into highly toxic form of methyl mercury…

…In view of the fact that Jermelov has proved that mercury vapours and metallic mercury can be converted into methyl mercury in biologic systems, the whole situation regarding the use of metallic mercury for dental amalgams (fillings) is changed. It is not possible to over emphasise the seriousness of the situation. Reports of genetic damage caused by methyl mercury have been received from Japan, Iraq, Canada and the U.S.A.

In face of mounting evidence of danger and the absence of evidence of safety, it is my duty to advise you that the use of mercury dental amalgams in the mouths of women who are pregnant should be discontinued.’

Dr Carl Svare, a professor of Dentistry at the University of lowa, has found that the mercury vapour levels in the breath of subjects went up when they chewed gum, and down again when they stopped. A related experiment showed that the greater the total filling surface, the higher the blood level of mercury.

Dr Mats Hanson, from the University of Lund, in Sweden, quotes Dr Radics from the Dental Institute at the University of Basel, as having shown that the exposed surface of an amalgam is poor in mercury and as having calculated the loss from a mouth with many fillings as being over 500 milligrams over several years. Dr Hanson further quotes Prof Gasser, from the same institute, as showing that people with amalgams have twice the blood concentration of mercury as those without amalgams.

An article in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine discussed the hypothesis that mercury in silver fillings leaked out daily.

‘Newly developed atomic absorption procedures for mercury detection have revealed mercury not only in the urine, but in the blood cells as well. Further, it has been exciting to note that the mercury levels in the urine drop substantially within 24 hours following the removal of mercury from the oral cavity. It has been chilling to see changes in the differential count of white cells within 24 hours of mercury removal. Considered that the finished amalgam restoration contains 40% - 50% mercury, we can understand how chronic poisoning may occur as corrosion takes place.’

Dr Hall Huggins, from the USA has confirmed how the white blood cell count drips back to normal within a short time of the last amalgam being removed. Dr O. Pinto of Rio de Janeiro recommends that all amalgams be removed if a person’s white blood cell count remains over 11,000 for 3 months without any obvious cause. Dr Huggins describes the case of a girl whose acne cleared up totally within a month of removal of her amalgams. This parallels one of our most recent experiences. A 20 year old female patient was referred to us for routine dental care. Her teeth had many areas of decay and by the end of treatment, all her old amalgams had been replaced with tooth coloured filling material. She was seen again 3 weeks later at which time she delightedly reported how much her skin had improved. There had been an 80%-90% clearing up of her acne which she had suffered since the age of 15. There had been no change in her diet during treatment other than to reduce the sugar in her coffee from 1 teaspoon to a half teaspoon. The rest of her diet, with all its hidden sugars was unchanged.

We only have to look at the number of people around who suffer from acne and ask-ourselves…why?

Mercury attacks the nervous system and diminishes the immune system. The symptoms it can cause are often vague and easily dismissed. They include: loss of appetite, loss of memory, inability to concentrate, depression, fatigue, moodiness and irritability.

Other more definite symptoms are: tremor in fine voluntary muscle movements eg Handwriting, swollen glands and tongue, ulceration of oral mucosa, nephritis, pneumonitis, dark pigmentation of gums and looseness of teeth, birth defects in young, dermatitis and skin and acne problems, joint pains, nausea and diarrhoea.

Mercury has also been suspected of being a factor in arthritis and multiple sclerosis. One case which was brought to my attention concerns a lady who had been diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis. She had severe fluid retention, right up to her knees. She also had a severe sinus condition and suffered from constipation. Her condition had been evident for 18 months and she could barely walk. One particularly large filling was replaced. Within 4 days the kidneys started to function, the fluid dispersed and the most severe arthritic symptoms had disappeared. She continued to progress as treatment continued and eventually had all fillings changed. There was no recurrence of severe problems, no sinus condition and today, 2 years later, remains without any of the original symptoms. In this case, the first large filling had a galvanic current in excess of 16 micro-amps. Galvanic currents have always been a problem with amalgams. Currents can occur between fillings and also within fillings. This hastens the corrosion of the amalgams and releases mercury more quickly into the body.

We know so little about the effects on our bodies of the various environmental toxins and so little of their possible synergistic effects it behoves us to do as much as we can in the areas where we do have some control so that our bodies are better able to resist those toxins over which we have no control.

Alternatives do exist. We are routinely using tooth-coloured fillings which bond to the teeth and which are mercury free. We are very happy with this material and can recommend it as a substitute for amalgams. It does require more care when it is used and may take a little longer to place. The advantage of amalgam used to be in its relative low cost. We need to ask ourselves…what is the long term cost? For larger fillings, we use gold or porcelain inlays and/or porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold crowns.

There is no doubt in my mind, after reviewing as many of the articles on this subject as I have, that mercury-free dentistry is a healthier dentistry.
“…and do them no harm” Hippocrates.

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