By Dr Mercola
About 50 percent of dentists in the U.S are mercury-free However, only an estimated 10 percent of those fully understand the health risks associated with dental amalgam—half of which is toxic mercury, despite what the misleading term "silver filling" might lead you to believe
It's crucial to understand these risks when removing and replacing amalgam "silver" fillings, or you could risk acute toxicity from the mercury released during the removal process I can testify to these risks first-hand, as I suffered kidney damage as a result of improper amalgam removal in the mid-90's by an otherwise qualified and competent dentist Still today, two decades later, I struggle with some kidney challenges
So please, do take this advice seriously
Dr Bill Glaros is a practicing biological dentist based in Houston, Texas He's a former president of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM), and he's also an accredited member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association
He has testified before the FDA about the health risks of dental amalgam, and in this interview, he offers helpful advice on how to find a qualified biological dentist who can safely remove amalgam fillings
What is Biological Dentistry?
Biological dentists, also known as holistic, or environmental dentists, operate according to the belief system that your teeth are an integral part of your body and hence your overall health, and recognize that your oral and dental health can have a major influence on other disease processes in your body Any medical treatment performed takes this fact into account The primary aim of holistic dentistry is to resolve your dental problems while working in harmony with the rest of your body
I recommend using a biological dentist for all your dental needs, but if you're considering removing dental amalgams, it's an absolute necessity Most conventional dentists simply do not have the know-how to do it without putting your health at risk in the process For example, some things that need to be done to keep you safe during amalgam removal include:
- Providing you with an alternative air source and instructing you not to breathe through your mouth
- Using a cold-water spray to minimize mercury vapors
- Putting a dental 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
- Using room air purifiers
Additional or alternative precautions may also be used For example, Dr Glaros uses a saliva ejector beneath the dam along with a mercury vapor sniffer in his practice, as he's found that the mercury vapors have a tendency to migrate underneath the dam He also stresses the importance of making sure your bladder and bowels are healthy prior to getting the work done
"There are some other issues that can happen before you start the dental part, and that would be nutritional support and making sure that people's exit routes are open – their bladder and bowels are functioning –because it's easier to get it out of the mouth than it is to get out of the body Getting it out of the body is the main goal It doesn't do it by itself easily for some people," he explains
Interestingly, certain bacteria in your gut, such as Candida, actually tries to demethylate the mercury it comes across Methyl mercury is the more hazardous type of mercury, in terms of toxicity According to Dr Glaros, some people who struggle with Candida may actually owe the troublesome bacteria a debt of gratitude, because the reason they can't get rid of it is because your body is using it to demethylate the mercury, which decreases or limits the toxicity they'd otherwise be experiencing
Checking Compatibility of Dental Materials—An Important Step in Biological Dentistry
"One of the things that we believe in biological dentistry is it's important to check for the compatibility of dental materials," Dr Glaros says "There are different ways to do that I don't care which way it's done; I just like that it's paid attention to That is the way to honor a patient We all have patients that can take anything Then we all have patients for whom everything becomes an issue So testing for compatibility of materials is crucial
[W]e also want to protect the environment Having mercury separators in dental offices is a unique thing, unfortunately But dentists don't see that as an issue It's not particularly expensive, you know, 500 bucks maybe to put a separator in your office, so that the mercury fillings you're grinding out and cleaning out don't end up in our water supply "
According to Dr Glaros, an estimated 30 tons of mercury are placed in people's mouths each year in the US That's A LOT of mercury! And a lot of it ends up as environmental pollution as a result of dentists who fail to give this issue the attention it deserves
"San Francisco Bay had a big problem with mercury in it They tried to get the dentists to volunteer to put the separators on They didn't do it, so they mandated it Within four or five years, the problem has cleared up in San Francisco Bay," Dr Glaros says
Beware of Root Canals
Root canals are particularly troublesome, and a number of diseases can be traced back to individual root canaled teeth Sadly, the vast majority of dentists are oblivious to the serious potential health risks they are exposing their patients to, risks that persist for the rest of their patients' lives The American Dental Association claims root canals have been proven safe, but they have NO published data or actual research to substantiate this claim To learn more about the health hazards of root canals, please see the following video:
The Health Effects of Chronic Low-Level Mercury Exposure
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 In contrast, 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
"Dr Hal Huggins, one of the founders and leaders of this whole movement, would say mercury picks on people's genetic weak link," Dr Glaros says "If mercury was like asbestos and it caused mesothelioma, every time you get mesothelioma, you're looking for the exposure to asbestos
Mercury tends to pick on people's genetic weak link It might be irritation of the skin or itching of the skin It might be memory loss or brain fog It's something that people who've been through it identify with frequently They say, 'Gosh, the fog cleared up ' It went away It will affect neurological issues and their immune systems The fact that it crosses the blood brain barrier that causes the neurological issues It crosses the placental barriers, and you have this embryo with no immune system, but the mercury is starting to affect him immediately
There's testing that could be done and give us an idea about what's going on
Some people will use urine mercury as one way to check what their levels are I like it when they do that and find what the urine mercury level is before they're challenged with a chelating agent That's what it's like for them every day They collect urine for three to six hours or 24 with two different techniques, similar results, and find what the urine mercury level is Then the next 24 hours, they will take a chelating agent
Then you collect urine for another six hours or 24 hours, the same that you did on the first day Sometimes urine mercury levels will go from below four micrograms per liter, which is considered a healthier rate, to way above that, which indicates that those people are retainers of the mercury toxicity They have a retention problem They don't get rid of it well
Those people aren't going to respond as quickly to removal as people whose urine mercury levels before it was challenged might have been eight or 10, and it was 12 when they had it challenged
There you have this body that has a good sense about how to get rid of mercury Those are the people that tend to not have the symptoms People that tend to have the symptoms are the people that have retention of the mercury If mercury gets into all the cells of the body, and it's like the water dripping in the kitchen sink You go on vacation and the water's dripping It's okay as long as the plugs are not in there But if the plug settles in and that same dripping builds up, then you have the retention toxicity issue, it spills over, and starts to create the symptoms that cause the problems "
Did You Know?
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Success Story from Removing Mercury
While it's impossible to predict whether or not a health problem will resolve as a result of getting your amalgam fillings removed, many people have experienced notable improvements Dr Glaros recounts the following story of one of his patients:
"In preparation for our meeting, I was thinking about particular patients, and we had a lady that came in She was a wife of a physician She had mercury fillings She had non-precious crowns She had a root canal She had two titanium implants She had symptoms that she described were low energy to no energy Her memory was not what she wanted it to be Her face was swollen She got pain in her shoulder, pain in her breasts she had facial pain that she couldn't explain and couldn't understand She just didn't have the energy to get along and to do anything
That first visit, we did diagnostic blocks We placed local anesthetics around her root canaled tooth and her two implants
When she came back two weeks later, she said, "When you put that block there, it became clear to me that my pain was localized in those three areas " When the anesthetic was gone, she said 'I was able to focus the pain from those areas '
We didn't start there though We started with removing her mercury fillings and non-precious metal crowns Every time she came back, she said 'I feel better ' She had more energy She had a different look She came with her sister, and her sister said, 'This is a different person ' I brought part of her notes, and she told us what she'd noticed She said, 'I get up once a night to go to the bathroom rather than multiple times,' which is the effect on the kidney of the toxins Her shoulder pain was gone Her breast pain was gone Her energy level, she said that she felt like lifting weights now
The morning she gets up, she wants to start the day She's read the newspaper Before, she just wanted to go back to sleep Her sister said, 'This is not the same person ' She had those symptoms increasingly, but she'd had them her whole life "
Resources to Help You Find a Biological Dentist
The following organizations can help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist:
Questions to Ask When Searching for a Biological Dentist
By telephone, before an appointment is scheduled, ask who you may speak with in the office to answer some technical questions about the dentist's beliefs and practices You deserve a match with your beliefs
- Does the office use digital x-rays only? You want individual as well as panoramic x-rays to be digital Digital has about 90% less radiation exposure
- Is there a mercury separator on the office plumbing to prevent mercury pollution of water supplies?
- Is this a mercury-free practice? If, "yes", Are they also mercury-safe? Mercury-free dentists make a choice not to place any new mercury fillings Mercury-safe dentists follow strict protocols when removing mercury fillings to minimize the exposure of mercury vapor to the patient, staff and the environment
- What kind of material compatibility testing do you use? No single dental material is "the best" for every person Serum compatibility, Meridian Stress Assessment, and Applied Kinesiology are familiar techniques used by Biological Dentists to select patients' best materials
- Is there a particular sequence for removal of restorations (mercury filling, metal crowns, etc ) that is followed? Sequential removal based on electrical current readings of individual restorations is a familiar protocol to Biological Dentists
- What kinds of protective barriers are used in your office during removal of existing mercury fillings? Eye protection for patient and staff, nasal coverage with alternate air supply for the patient and gas masks for staff, oversized drapes to cover patients
- Does your doctor use a dental dam during mercury filling removal? A non-latex dental dam is most commonly used and even better, with a suction tip under the dam to pick up mercury vapors Some Biological Dentists prefer to use no dental dam and have multiple suction techniques
- How do you keep from heating up the mercury filling during removal? Copious amounts of cool water are sprayed on the point of contact of the drill with the filling, in addition to the water spray coming from the dental handpiece
- How is the room air protected? During mercury filling removal, two high volume suctions are at the site of mercury filling removal to pick up mercury vapors and mercury filings Biological Dentists typically have air filters and ion generators in treatment rooms to help with air purification
- How is the mercury filling removed from the tooth? Using new burrs, Biological dentists are careful about removing mercury fillings in "chunks" to minimize vaporization and tissue contact with mercury material
- Is there any special rinsing provided during and after removal? Many Biological Dentists use oral rinses before starting removal of mercury fillings and provide multiple rinses during and after the removal procedure
- As a group, Biological Dentists are inclined to share the following non-mercury practices: No Flouride No Fragrances No Latex No Root Canal Treatments No Metals Used with Restorative Dentistry No Titanium Implants No VOC in office paints Yes to homeopathy, Yes to Full Spectrum Lighting, and Yes to working with like-minded M.D , ND, Chiropractors for Patient Nutritional Supplementation, Detox, and Appropriate Corrections
How You Can Help Put an End to Mercury Fillings
I wish to urge health professionals and consumers alike to support Consumers for Dental Choice during Mercury-Free Dentistry Week They have changed the paradigm in the amalgam battle, but the old amalgam habit is hard to break The landmark economics The Real Cost of Dental Mercury study tells us why: dentists who use amalgam are not paying the price of the environmental havoc they are wreaking Instead, they are passing on that cost to taxpayers who foot the clean-up bill
It's time for change…and Consumers for Dental Choice can make it happen
We've shown you the track record of Consumers for Dental Choice, and how their strategy is working, in the U.S and worldwide Now is the time for you to consider contributing what you can to this great cause – by aiding an organization that will use your gift wisely for the good of us all
Will you please consider a tax-deductible donation to Consumers for Dental Choice, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry?
Donations can be made online at www.toxicteeth.org/donate.cfm Checks can be mailed to:
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St , N.E , Suite 210
Washington DC 20002
Please contribute what you can in honor of Mercury-Free Dentistry Week