The Risks of Mercury Poisoning and Dentistry

Real Risks Associated with Mercury Poisoning and Exposure

Chronic, long term, exposure to trace amounts of mercury can lead to mercury poisoning and buildup

Toxic Mercury. one of the metal components of traditional silver fillings

Toxic Mercury. one of the metal components of traditional silver fillings

in the body over time; after removing the exposure, it may take months or even years for the body to eliminate excess mercury. Overexposure can lead to kidney damage and/or mercury poisoning, leading to ‘shakes’ (ex: shaky handwriting), irritability, sore gums, increased saliva, metallic taste, loss of appetite, memory loss, personality changes, and brain damage.  Most commonly associated mercury poisoning symptoms can be pain, burning or itching in the skin or even the gums, changes in skin color, loss of memory emotional impairment, even insomnia.

Sources of Mercury Poisoning

Significant sources of mercury poisoning and exposure commonly come from contaminated fish, soil or water with high mercury levels, air pollution (particularly from power plant emissions and coal mines,)  exposure to mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings, improper disposal of mercury containing products such as fluorescent lights. Less common, but significant, sources of exposure to mercury and mercury poisoning come from cement production, gold and steel production, coal mining, and other industrial operations and waste.

Why Amalgam Fillings Persist

Admittedly mercury amalgam fillings are inexpensive and easy to work with, the ADA has approved them, they are durable and reliable and dentist are familiar with the procedure. Amalgam can last for years, is resistant to corrosion and tolerant to many conditions inside the mouth. Options, in dentistry, to use other materials have been available for several decades still, because of its cost and ease of application, mercury use in dentistry is pervasive with change coming slowly.

Amalgam Filling

Mercury Amalgam Filling

 

Yet more and more states (and some countries) adopt policy to encourage reduction of amalgam fillings and our federal government continues to review and encourage reduction in mercury alloys. The public is becoming ever more educated in the adverse effects of mercury and risks of mercury poisoning, and no reasonable arguments can state that mercury is not a dangerous toxin, the risk to children and infants even greater than the risk posed to adults.

Cummulative Effects of Mercury

Like an iceberg, much of the danger associated with mercury is unseen until the risk has become unavoidable

Like an iceberg, much of the danger associated with mercury is unseen until the risk has become unavoidable

Environmentally the risks of mercury poisoning grows as the population grows.  As bad as mercury may be for one individual the direct correlation can be seen as a domino effect of ever increasing risk of exposure and environmental mercury poisoning. 

Communities routinely face challenges from mercury detected in municipal water supplies, soil and farm lands are testing positive for mercury levels that are concerning and the oceans fish are always exposed to higher and higher levels of mercury. All of which put each of us at an individually increased risk for low, moderate or even high risks of mercury poisoning.

What To Consider

An individual with multiple existing silver fillings (mercury containing, amalgam) will have a higher exposure to toxic mercury than those with few or no amalgam fillings. There are options for reducing individual risks. A trained and qualified dentist can remove the amalgam fillings and with proper instruments, and ventilation equipment, keep your risk and the risk to the environment and dental office at the lowest possible level.

One of the options for amalgam replacement uses and ultraviolet light to "set" the restoration permanently in place

One of the options for amalgam replacement uses and ultraviolet light to “set” the restoration permanently in place

Dr. Marilyn K Jones DDS is qualified and her staff trained to properly and safely eliminate your amalgam fillings and provided safe, long lasting, and strong restorations to your teeth. Please call or contact them today for an appointment.

 

Should You Be Afraid of the Dentist?

Should You Be Afraid of the Dentist?

80% of the Population is Afraid of the Dentist… Here’s why they are right to be worried

The one thing mainstream or traditional dentists don’t seem to realize is that the human mouth is the gateway leading to all systems of the body including the brain, liver, heart, lungs, reproductive organs and everything else in between. As holistic dentists we understand that oral healthcare isn’t a practice isolated to just teeth and gums. What goes into the mouth — be it a dental product or a substance ingested — can, and does have profound effects on the overall long-term health of our patients.

While holistic dentists are well versed in the dangers and consequences of silver (mercury) amalgam fillings, indiscriminate root canal surgery, ingested fluoride, biocompatibility of dental materials and overzealous use of x-rays we are also very conscious about how a person’s oral healthcare and attention to nutrition can help to restore not only issues of teeth and gums, but help to maintain a healthy, less medically complicated lifespan.

For starters, let’s talk about fluoride.

Heavily influenced by the American Dental Association and FDA’s seemingly oblivious assertions, traditional dentists tend to be in favor the widespread use of fluoride, both for topical use and in the public water supply. Not only do they maintain that fluoridating water supplies is essential for healthy teeth they may also recommend fluoride drops for infants, citing ‘accepted’ research showing a decrease in cavity rates in areas where the water is fluoridated.

Holistic dentists, on the other hand, are better versed on all of the available research and we are not afraid to weigh the facts accordingly. A broader look at current clinical studies clearly demonstrate that ingested fluoride is suspect in a myriad of health problems including cancer, lower I.Q. results  and bone diseases while concurrent research has shown no actual benefit to the teeth from ingested fluoride. They also recognize that too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis resulting in unsightly and unhealthily stained and pitted teeth that can progress to enamel damage in the advanced stages. Skeletal fluorosis is a more radical and serious case of fluorosis which results in severe pain and gradual weakening of joints, muscles and connective tissue.

The deadly silver filling

Amalgam fillings, or so called silver fillings, have long been the easiest and cheapest product for dentists to use to repair damaged teeth.  However silver amalgam fillings have extremely high mercury content. In fact, amalgam fillings contain more mercury than any other product in use today. We all know that mercury is a highly toxic substance, and something we don’t want to risk exposure to. So why are dentists still using mercury to fill teeth?

In addition to causing irreversible damage to the structure of a tooth (due in part to its tendency to shrink and expand with heat and cold), metal fillings and mercury in particular have been linked to a growing number of neurological disorders including Alzheimer`s, autism, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson`s Disease. It is also associated with cardiovascular diseases, collagen disorders such as arthritis, lupus, bursitis, etc. and immunological disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.

As the evidence grows and scientific research reflects the undeniable dangers associated with mercury amalgam use, more and more dentists are becoming informed and are opting to stop its use. But despite the evidence about 50 percent of dentists in the U.S. continue to use amalgam fillings simply because they don’t believe – or don’t want to believe — that what they are doing is harmful to their patients.

So, now we know that mercury is extremely toxic, but many people still have mercury fillings in their mouth. What is a person to do? Not only does a holistic dentist practice mercury-free dentistry, we are also trained and highly skilled in the safe removal of existing mercury fillings and we know how to dispose of this hazardous waste properly without inflicting more damage on the environment.

Then, there are root canals …

The notion that root canal procedures are safe, and even necessary, actually comes with no legitimate studies or research to support it. Basically, a dentist’s goal for performing a root canal is to stop a dying tooth’s inflammation and the resultant infection while preserving the tooth. But what a patient is not generally told at the time is that more often than not, the risk of the procedure is much greater than any benefits associated with keeping a dead tooth in your mouth.

A healthy tooth contains a network of very tiny and difficult to reach tubules that, if stretched out, would extend for about three miles. The living pulp within the tooth is – mostly – removed during a root canal and a dental product is inserted to fill the empty chamber – but there is absolutely no way to remove all of the bacteria left behind, and over time this bacteria multiplies and turns into a toxic mess that eventually invades the bloodstream making its way to sensitive organs and tissues of the body.  When the immune system is strong these toxins may not be as harmful, but when a person has a weakened immune system due to health issues or some other stressor, these toxic bacteria can cause some major complications including; heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, joint, and rheumatic diseases, neurological diseases, and myriad of autoimmune diseases. More recent studies point to an undeniable link between root canals and breast cancer.

What’s the alternative to root canal? Most holistic dentists prefer to offer the simple option of removing a dead tooth altogether – thereby eliminating any potential of toxic bacteria build-up in the future. And if tooth or teeth replacement is to be considered then we will provide information on non-metallic implants to safely replace irreversibly damaged teeth. Metal-free zirconia dental implants is the best option over traditional titanium implants as the human immune system does not react negatively to zirconia. In addition, it is safe, strong, aesthetically pleasing and poses little to no danger of corrosion.

Let’s consider the consequences of using non-biocompatible dental products

Mainstream dentists generally are not concerned about a patient’s product compatibility (determining whether or not a patient may or may not have an adverse reaction to a chemical or component of a dental product) and will adamantly avoid biocompatibility testing. Very likely these dentists will not explain the differences between various composite filling material much less give you chance to make your own decision about which materials will be used.

Again, by looking at all of the available clinical studies, trials and research – and not just those studies that support what we already do — holistic dentists understand that what goes into the mouth can affect the entire body. Using specialized equipment to test for biocompatibility of all dental materials we can offer a variety of composite filling materials and implants as well as more compatible materials for other procedures.

It’s all about education and prevention

Unlike traditional dentist, holistic dentists are interested in more than just what is going on in a patient’s mouth. We tend to ask questions about a person’s overall healthfulness. We may recommend changes in diet and incorporate the use of supplements aimed at reducing the acidity of saliva and retarding oral bacterial growth as a way to help combat and prevent a multitude of oral health issues. A holistic dentist will use the most advanced treatment for gum disease accompanied by the most effective natural approaches to healing including herbal remedies, to promote a patient’s overall wellness.

Our focus is on more than just your mouth

Natural dentistry focuses on treatments that are good for the whole body, including your mouth. We take the time to consider your overall health and we emphasize that disease can be prevented with proper nutrition combined with a good practice of daily oral hygiene. We believe that educating our patients about the importance of good oral care will help them to achieve a higher level of health overall.

Resources:

Three Reasons to End Water Fluoridation http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/water/

Mercury Poisoning from Dental Amalgam Fillings http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/04/mercury-poisoning-from-silver-fillings.aspx

Root Canal Dangers – Weston A Price Foundation – http://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/root-canal-dangers

Biocompatibility Testing & Dental Toxicity: http://www.biocomplaboratories.com/biocompatibility-Testing-Dental-Toxicity.html