Metals in Dentistry

You have probably heard that mercury in dentistry can be dangerous to your health. You may have even been told that this is not true and that mercury is fine or that silver amalgam fillings do not contain mercury. The truth is that almost all metals in dental work, including mercury, are poisonous or pose a level toxicity to the body. Its also true that silver fillings contain more mercury than silver. Their name refers more to color than content.

Today, more and more dentists are moving into metal-free dentistry because there are truly no valid indications to use them anymore. There are much better and safer alternative materials including composite and porcelain materials for fillings, crowns and other types of dental work, and they are usually less expensive than metals on a material cost basis. Plus, composite and porcelain materials often last as long as metals if not longer. Old style crowns and bridges had cast metal substructures, the toxicity of which depended on the metal alloy selected. Today, we have the more biocompatible option of all-porcelain restorations.

At DC Smiles, we practice metal-free restorations, holistic integrated dentistry with a whole body perspective. We know that what happens in your mouth does not end in your mouth but rather affects the function of every system of the body. This is why we do not use silver amalgam fillings. Besides mercury and silver, these fillings also contain zinc, tin, and copper all of which are toxic. (Note that these metals are not the same as the organic minerals we need for good health.) Traditional crowns and bridges have metal castings underneath the tooth-colored porcelain. There are hundreds of different alloys used in these metal under-castings, which may have reactive or toxic effects in many individuals. Dissimilar metals also have the potential for a galvanic effect in the mouth, creating a charge across the tissues the effect of which has not been studied, but is theoretically deleterious. Read more about Our Philosophy and the Oral Health/Whole Body Health Connection.

You may have also been told that the metals in fillings and other dental work do not leak into the body, but this is untrue. The metals do indeed leak into your body, and mercury is the most poisonous non-radioactive substance on the planet. As mercury slowly enters the body over time, it causes a number of issues that have been shown to lead to diseases such as Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and depression. Mercury toxicity is especially dangerous in children and pregnant women, and there is no such thing as a safe level of mercury.

In the documentary, Mercury Undercover, physicians report that mercury poisoning causes the cell membranes to leak. It also inhibits enzymes in the body that are necessary for the removal of toxins and production of energy, and it causes oxidative distress. That oxidation, in turn, leads to elevated cholesterol levels and chronic inflammation, which has been linked to many of the most common diseases of modern society. Interestingly, the year that the first dental amalgam was introduced in Paris, France in 1832 is the same year that the first case of multiple sclerosis appeared in Paris, as well as a new type of leukemia.

Mercury Vapor

The amount of mercury in a single silver filling is about a million times more than the contamination in seafood, and the action of chewing causes more of it to enter your body little by little with every meal or snack you eat. The bulk of it actually enters as fumes or mercury vapor, which we breathe. This vapor, which can be measured, is easily absorbed by the body from the lungs to the bloodstream to the bone marrow to the brain.

The mercury changes from a solid to a gas very easily, and from the lungs, it is easily absorbed into the blood. Unfortunately, as the liver attempts to detoxify it, the mercury is inadvertently transformed into a substance that is even more toxic, making it more easily absorbed into the body’s cells, especially brain cells, which seal the mercury within them. This makes it very difficult to detoxify. Dentists are at great risk when they provide mercury products in their practice. Many of them have developed tremors and other medical problems due to their frequent exposure.

Besides metal-free fillings, Dr. Singer also offers safe, ceramic implants in individuals where it is appropriate. Traditional titanium implants are suspected of aggravating autoimmune diseases in a few certain individuals. Through examinations and laboratory tests, we can determine what materials are biocompatible on an individual basis. Read more about implant dentistry.

Removal of Mercury Fillings

In Sweden, studies have shown that a large percentage of people with various health issues reported improvement in their symptoms after their silver amalgam fillings were removed. The World Health organization is working to ban the use of mercury amalgams worldwide by the year 2020. In certain counties in the US, its use is already banned. Safely removing mercury fillings requires training, however, so not every dentist is equipped to do this work. Further dangerous mercury exposure can occur during the removal process if it is not done correctly.

Dr. Singer is experienced in the issues involved with removing these fillings and can provide safe removal and replacement of fillings with non-toxic materials. Prior to your removal appointment, Dr. Singer will recommend certain nutritional supplements to begin the mercury detoxification process. These might include: Chlorella, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Selenium, amino acids (free form), multivitamins and minerals with extra Vitamin C, Glutathione, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and others.

The techniques involve using the Isolite System to isolate the tooth that contains the metal filling in order to minimize the release of mercury vapor. Isolite is more effective than the rubber dams traditionally used for tooth isolation. Special removal instruments and technique are also used to minimize the amount of time required to remove the metal and amount of mercury vapor that is released

Removal sometimes involves what is called galvanic testing, which is done in stages. A small amount is removed at a time while the patient is relaxed under IV sedation. The portion of the filling tested to have the strongest negative electrical (galvanic) charge is removed first. After that, the testing is done again to remove the next strongest portion.

Ion generators and ventilation are provided to avoid inhalation and provide another source of air through a nasal hood that covers the patients nose and is attached to an oxygen source. Dr. Singer will instruct you to breathe through your nose and avoid breathing through your mouth during the procedure.

The cooler the mercury as it is removed, the less vapor that is released. Since drilling generates heat, care must be taken to cool the fillings during the removal process. A suction or vacuum hose is also used to capture the vapor so that it is not inhaled.

After the metal has been thoroughly removed, your mouth will be vacuumed and rinsed to ensure that all particles are gone. Dr. Singer will ask you to avoid swallowing during this process. You will then be asked to gargle and immediately spit. Your face and neck will then be cleaned.

After extraction, proper disposal of the metal is also important so that it does not contaminate our water or soil.

Even after the fillings have been removed, the cells of the body still contain mercury. Detoxification techniques must be performed slowly so that the body is not over-taxed. Dr. Singer can provide recommendations for detoxification and referrals to qualified physicians who can oversee your care as you work to remove as much of the mercury and other metals from your body’s systems as possible.