Most of us would agree that a healthy mouth and teeth are important for our overall health. Dental disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and low birth weight babies, to name just a few. One area of dentistry that is highly controversial is the use of mercury containing fillings. To this date, the American Dental Association continues to maintain that mercury fillings are safe despite the fact that mercury is implicated in many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and MS.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that “it is not scientifically possible to set a level for mercury in blood or urine below which mercury-related symptoms will not occur.” As a dentist who has practiced for 23 years, and is profoundly interested in health, I feel I take a common sense approach to this important health matter. I have not placed mercury fillings in a patient since 1995. There is no need whatsoever to place mercury fillings. We have alternative restorative materials that work very well, including BPA free tooth colored fillings and porcelain.
In addition, it is important to ask this question: “Should I have my mercury fillings removed?”
There are many ways to approach this question. First, you could be very proactive and have them replaced. I would take this approach if I had a chronic illness. You could gather more data. You could have a hair analysis to see if you have increased levels of mercury. Remember, however, what the World Health Organization says about having any level of mercury in your body.
A very important thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to have mercury fillings removed, please replace them with long term restorations. While many fillings can be replaced by BPA free composite (tooth colored filling material), many larger fillings really should be replaced with crowns in order to prevent further decay, possible root canals, or tooth loss.
In addition, it is important for the dentist removing mercury fillings to follow good technique before, during and after removal because when mercury fillings are removed, mercury vapors are given off. It is helpful to eat a high fiber diet, take mega doses of Vitamin C and use high speed evacuation during removal. While the FDA continues to approve the use of mercury containing fillings in the mouth, many countries including Sweden and Norway have banned their use. Fortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to review the safety of dental amalgam, which is 50 percent mercury, beginning with a public hearing on Dec. 14 and 15. A final ruling is expected by mid 2011.
In the meantime, ask yourself an important question, “Do I want mercury in my mouth?”
For further information regarding health oriented dentistry, please contact me at 314-843-5533 or visit my website at cynthianouridentistry.com.