Just A Little Bit Toxic


In 1986 I made a decision to stop placing amalgam (silver) fillings and switched to “composite”, a newly developed tooth-colored filling material. Originating in Japan in the 60s, the new technology had strong opposition here in the USA since it consisted of placing a buffered acid on the tooth, creating millions of microscopic pores into which “superglue” was flowed. The thought of placing acid on living teeth was frightening to American dentists. It didn’t matter that the Japanese had been doing it successfully for the past 10 years. Nevertheless, composite bonding had arrived in America. Today over 50% of all fillings placed are mercury-free, bonded composite. Initially, I was attracted to composite because I thought silver-amalgam fillings were just plain ugly. After a year-long transition and many seminars later, I eliminated all mercury from the office and started restoring teeth via bonding with tooth-colored composite. The technology had a strong chemistry component to it, and compared to amalgam, was time consuming and very technique sensitive. It had to be done “by the book.” No shortcuts. But composite fillings are well worth it since with silver fillings, “ugly” is only the tip of the iceberg.

Since Civil War days, dentists had used amalgam (a 50/50 mix of silver and mercury) as their primary filling material. This combination actually worked fairly well. But there was a problem. The mercury didn’t become inert when mixed with the silver. Small amounts would vaporize and be absorbed by the patient. Mercury is one of the six most poisonous metals on earth. Human toxicity occurs at doses measured in millionths of a gram. A nickel weighs 5 grams. You can do the math. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which means it’s toxic to the brain. Despite FDA assurances here in America that these small amounts caused no health problems, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have totally banned amalgam fillings. In Germany, the Ministry of Health recommended that no amalgam fillings be placed in children, pregnant women, or people suffering from kidney disease.

Official inconsistency can be confusing. We don’t take x-rays on pregnant women because the little-bit of radiation might harm the fetus. We recommend replacing mercury thermometers with digital as a safety measure. We’re advised to limit the amount of fish we eat because some species are loaded with dangerous amounts of mercury. However, it’s officially OK to inject vaccines containing a little-bit of mercury. Many kids are given more than a dozen vaccinations before two or three years of age, often multiple doses at the same visit. Can a developing, immature immune system really be unaffected? The Official word is, “They’re safe.” Studies are beginning to pop up suggesting a correlation between vaccination, autism and other neurological problems. But “Official Studies” reassure us that a little-bit of mercury won’t do any harm. But how many little-bits equal too-much?

As a precaution to protect the patient, amalgam fillings should be removed under a rubber barrier. The high-speed drill literally pulverizes the amalgam into a fine dust. Isolating the patient’s throat with a rubber barrier, while using high velocity suction, prevents the mercury sludge from being swallowed or inhaled. Patients suffering from chemical sensitivities go one step further and use natural substances such as zeolite, chlorella and chelation to bind and eliminate mercury.

For me it’s a no-brainer. Teeth properly restored with composite filling material are less prone to fracture, exhibit less sensitivity and are better sealed, preventing bacteria from seeping in, causing new decay and abscesses. And yes, I still think amalgam fillings are just plain ugly.

(520) 761-1600
855 W. Bell Road, Suite 600
Nogales, AZ 85621

Search Articles:

Sunshine Dentistry AZ

855 W Bell Rd.

(520) 761-1600
The Sunshine Dentistry AZ Team