Did you have cavities as a child that were filled with a silver metal to protect them from further decay? You may want to consider having them removed and filled with a different type of material to protect your long-term health. A dental amalgam is what was commonly used to fill a decaying tooth cavity until recent research showed the negative effects that the metals contained in the amalgam can have on the body.
Amalgams typically consist of the following:
- 50% Mercury
- ~30% Silver
- ~10% Tin
- ~8% Copper
- ~2% Trace minerals
The earliest records of the use of amalgams dates back to medical records of the Tang dynasty in 659. Records in Germany show use of the filling metals in 1528, and they became widespread in the 1800s due their durability, cost effectiveness and ease of application. They are still a common practice and the most economic option in present-day dentistry but at a health risk to the both the patient and the working dental staff. In 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration classified amalgams as a class II medical device and deemed it safe for humans to use in dental procedures.
What’s the Harm?
Mercury vapor is the major concern of amalgams and what is considered dangerous to the patient, hygienists, dentist and the environment. The mercury in the filling material is not the same as the mercury levels that are rising in the ocean and affecting our fish populations. It is elemental mercury that releases vapor and is absorbed through inhalation, not through our digestive tract like when we eat compromised fish.
The installation and removal are when the most amount of mercury vapor is exposed, but also when eating, clenching your teeth or brushing. Heating up the amalgam also causes mercury vapors to release and can happen any time that you eat soup, or sip coffee or tea. Research has shown through a series of autopsies that there were higher levels of mercury in the body tissues of those that had metal fillings than in those that did not have metal fillings. The mercury levels were higher in the liver, kidneys, reproductive organs, brain, saliva, blood, and breast milk of nursing mothers. However, the American Dental Association has deemed it safe for use in dental offices.
Effects of Mercury Poisoning
Even small amounts of mercury vapor can be harmful to the human body. It can be inhaled and absorbed in the lungs and spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. It strongly affects the central nervous system — our body’s operating system. High levels of mercury in the body are associated with neurological damage, reproductive issues, and kidney failure. Some of the minor changes that you may notice if you have amalgam fillings is fatigue, irritability, headaches, hand tremors, hearing loss, hallucinations, changes in behavior, and chronic pain. Globally, one in seven people are affected by chronic pain and it is often hard to pinpoint the source. Who would have thought it could be as a result of your fillings?
Many people are traveling overseas to have their mercury fillings removed and replaced. The cost of this dental work can be very expensive and is often not covered by dental insurance due to the fact of it being seen as a cosmetic surgery. Why not get a trip to Bali out of the deal instead of spending the cost of airfare on an American dentist? Don’t be surprised at how inexpensive the invoice is from your overseas dentist. You can have your fillings removed and replaced for as little as $20 a tooth overseas.
You may want to pursue having your amalgam fillings removed sooner than later if you frequently experience a metallic taste in your mouth, are frequently out of breath, develop a chronic cough, or if your gums become swollen and bleed during brushing or eating. The amount of mercury that you are exposed to accumulates over time, so the longer you have the filling, the more harm that it is causing to your body. It is also important to note that the more amalgam fillings you have, the more likely you are to see the negative side effects of them.
Once removed, you can expect to see the symptoms of the following afflictions began to reduce in severity:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chron’s disease
There are other options to amalgam when need to have a cavity filled. Although they may be more costly, you can also have them filled with resin, gold or porcelain. Resin can be matched to your tooth color and is more aesthetically pleasing than some of the other options. When given the option, choose to not fill your cavity with a toxic heavy metal to help protect your body from harm. The good news is that after having them removed, you can expect your mercury levels to drop within a couple weeks of removal. After the levels have dropped, you should consider doing a detox program to rid your body of any remaining mercury in your system.
Finding a dentist that will listen to your concerns is important when pertaining to your wellbeing. Most dentists are aware of the hazards of amalgam but still offer it to their patients as an inexpensive option. If your dentist attempts to convince you to not worry about the effects of amalgam, we consider shopping around for a new dentist as soon as possible.