I’ve shared with you the many health hazards associated with the use of mercury in dental amalgam, or silver, fillings. For this reason and more, many of you have decided to make a mercury-free holistic dentist your practitioner of choice. Today, however, I wanted to take an in-depth look and discuss an important distinction found among dentists: those that are “mercury-safe” and those that are “mercury-free.”
Why is Mercury Used When Filling Cavities?
Mercury as a component of dental fillings was first used in the United States in 1833. Though dentists wondered about the use of such a highly toxic substance, proponents claimed it would not leak from a tooth when combined with other metals such as tin, silver and copper. Because it was much easier to work with and less expensive than the standard gold filler, it soon became the number one choice for dental fillers among dentists.
By 1986, accumulating scientific evidence suggested that this viewpoint was wrong. Even the American Dental Association was forced to admit that mercury actually was escaping from these silver fillings in the form of a vapor. However, even today and with all the mounting data that suggests otherwise, the ADA has adamantly refused to state that this mercury vapor could leak in a sufficient quantity as to be damaging to a patient’s health. And, thus, the great divide between dentists began.
What is a Mercury Free Dentist?
A mercury-free dentist is, simply stated, a dentist that does not use dental amalgam fillings. Today, over half of all traditional dentists fall into this category. They have turned, instead, to composite fillings which are free of metal and are the same color as the affected tooth. Obviously, these fillings are mercury-free. Some dentists opt for mercury-free composite fillings because they believe that keeping mercury out of their patient’s mouths constitutes best practices, while others simply choose these types of fillings for their aesthetic appearance. And that choice and belief creates a very marked difference in these two schools of thought and their corresponding practices.
What is a Mercury Safe Dentist?
A mercury-safe dentist is not only mercury-free, but also practices set standards and procedures to limit or prevent mercury exposure–for both patient and staff–particularly when removing an amalgam filling.
When amalgam fillings are removed, usually at the request of the patient, massive amounts of toxic mercury vapor is released, in levels that often far exceed those allowed by regulatory agencies. Without specialized equipment and training, dentists can expose the patient, the staff, and themselves to serious health threats.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT) has developed a protocol for safely removing silver fillings, and limiting exposure to mercury. It is known as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART), and mercury-safe dentists are certified in these procedures.
What are some SMART Techniques?
A few of IAOMT’s recommendations include the following:
- The use of an amalgam separator which uses gravity to capture the amalgam before it enters the sewer.
- Installing a high-volume air filtration system in treatment rooms where amalgam fillings are removed.
- An oxygen nasal mask for the patient and mercury vapor masks for the dentist and staff.
- A non-latex dental dam that seals the patient’s mouth.
- A saliva ejector that suctions saliva, blood and debris from the patient’s mouth.
- The use of a high-speed oral aerosol vacuum.
- The use of copious amounts of water during the extraction.
In addition, there are specific procedures that the dentist uses when removing these types of fillings, such as sectioning the filler into chunks instead of grinding it down, reducing the amount of escaping mercury vapors.
It’s important to note, however, that even though the best safety practices are in place, your body will be burdened with an additional load of mercury and other possible heavy metals. There is just no way around that inevitable result of removing silver fillings.
What Should I Look for in a Mercury-Safe Practice?
Besides knowing the correct procedure for removal, dentists that understand the possible level of toxicity and the toll it may have taken on your body will conduct an initial evaluation before removing silver fillings. They do this in order to ensure that your body can handle the mercury vapors that will be released.
An initial assessment using an Electro-Acupuncture According to Voll (EAV) is often used to determine the blockage in your interstitial tissues—the connective tissue between your cells—as well as the level of toxins in your cells. It provides the dentist with information regarding which toxins should be removed first as well as the baseline heavy metal level in particular organs and tissues.
Reducing your body’s level of toxicity will be a top priority. Your dentist will want you and your all-important kidneys and liver to be in the best possible state of health, in order to be able to handle and remove the additional mercury that will be released during extraction. This is accomplished through several key strategies, including:
- A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the elimination of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar and white flour.
- The use of herbs, vitamins, minerals and homeopathic remedies.
- Cleansing protocols such as infrared saunas and exercise.
Once the amalgam filling is removed, a holistic dentist will use personalized compatibility testing to ensure the new filling materials are the most compatible with your immune system.
Even after the source of mercury is removed, your body will be left with the task of removing the mercury that has built up in your tissues and organs. Keeping up with a detoxification plan will ensure continued cleansing and is an important part of a mercury safe practice.
How do I Find a Mercury-Safe Dentist?
We wanted to help you with this all-important decision by calling dentists that claim to be holistic, natural, or biological across the nation. We asked them several key questions that determined if they are practicing mercury free or mercury safe dentistry and to what level. We included this information, along with the services they provide, in a handy document called the Holistic Dentist Finder. And, best of all, we are offering it to you for free!
It’s our way of helping you make the best possible choices when it comes to your health and well-being.
The Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART). International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT). https://iaomt.org/safe-removal-amalgam-fillings/
Breiner, Mark A., DDS. Whole-Body Dentistry. Quantum Health Press. 2011.
Huggins, Hal A, DDS, Levy, Thomas E., MD. Uninformed Consent. Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 1999.
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