There is adequate evidence that dental amalgam restorations, during and after placement, results in the release of Hg into the patient's body. Whether the Hg released from amalgam is due to placement procedures, surface abrasion, or later corrosion breakdown, there is evidence that a low level Hg release continues for years. It is generally agreed that if amalgam was introduced today as a restorative material, they would never pass F.D.A. approval. With new and more accurate techniques of measuring Hg levels, especially in tissue and blood, additional studies are necessary to relate blood-Hg levels with dental amalgam restorations. Studies must relate existing restorations as well as the placement of new restorations to body-Hg levels. It is possible that we have accepted a potentially dangerous material as being safe.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning and safeguards against contamination of dental offices are given. Office conditions that led to mercury toxication in two Utah dentists are described.Safe mercury vapor levels can be maintained if good mercury hygiene is practiced in the dental office. Symptoms of mercury toxication and safeguards against contamination are listed. Although the office practices that led to mercury toxication in two Utah dentists were corrected, nearly 20 months passed before their symptoms subsided.
Dental amalgams are 50% mercury. The mercury contained in the amalgam leaches out as a vapour into your body for the lifetime of the filling. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal and the mental, physical and emotional effects of mercury on the body have been well documented and known for centuries.Although you are exposed to mercury through many sources including environmental exposure, eating fish etc, the majority of mercury exposure comes from dental amalgam, the silver fillings in your teeth.Amalgam was developed over 180 years ago and has never been exposed to any meaningful safety testing. It is a mixture of 50% liquid mercury and 50% powdered metals and it never truly sets, it is in fact a stiff paste of alloys in a liquid mercury base.Mercury disrupts the biological functions of the body on a number of different levels, which means it can cause a myriad of disturbances, imbalances, illnesses and symptoms in your body.The following list provides the most recognised symptoms of mercury toxicity. For ease I have broken them down into regions of the body. This list is extensive but not exhaustive and just because you have or may have some of these symptoms it is not a diagnosis for mercury toxicity.
Up to 80% of inhaled mercury vapour is absorbed through the lungs. From here it travels to all the other tissues and organs of the body in the circulation, but particularly concentrates within the kidney, liver and brain.The presence of mercury in the lungs causes chronic breathing disorders including:
Mercury binds tightly to nerves and fats, so it is readily absorbed into the brain and nerve endings that regulate all the functions of the body. It prevents nerves regenerating and disrupts nerve function.Mercury from amalgam crosses the blood-brain barrier and can damage any part of the central nervous system including the master endocrine glands at the base of the brain which control both the nervous and hormone systems.Mercury can produce a host of mental, emotional, and behavioural changes and what are considered 'psychiatric' disorders by disrupting neurotransmitters, interfering with endocrine gland function and hormones and causing destruction of nervous pathways.The effects of mercury on brain function include:
Mercury is also known to have profound effects upon mood including:
The ability of mercury to induce 'mercury madness' is well recognised and symptoms include:
Mercury collects in the reproductive organs where it can cause a variety of disorders including infertility.It is known to directly cross the placental barrier in pregnant women and also to concentrate in breast milk and mercury levels in newborn babies have been shown to be directly related to the number of amalgam fillings in the mother’s mouth.The symptoms of mercury toxicity in both sexes include:
Mercury from dental amalgam fillings is also recognised to severely impact kidney function such that animal studies have shown a 50% reduction within a month of placement of the first amalgam filling. Effects of mercury on the urinary system include:
Mercury accumulates in muscles and joints causing muscle tenderness and joint pain.
Mercury collects in the heart muscle and valves and has been found at 22,000 times the levels found in the blood. Mercury is strongly associated with elevated levels of homocysteine and cholesterol and heart attacks.It also causes red blood cells to rupture and replaces the iron in haemoglobin so that the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood can be reduced by half. Mercury also causes a weakening in the walls of the small blood vessels leading to a reduced blood supply to the organs and tissues.The cardiovascular symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
Mercury disrupts hormone production and release from the endocrine glands, and also blocks the receptors which allow the hormones to send messages to cells and organs.The endocrine system has a high requirement for specific trace minerals and accumulation of mercury within the glands may occur because of the chemical similarity to the essential mineral, zinc.Symptoms of mercury poisoning in the endocrine system include:
Mercury also collects in very high concentrations in the jaw bones and the soft tissues of the mouth.Mixing gold and amalgam restorations in the mouth increases the amount of mercury vapour given off several fold and placing gold crowns over amalgam cores particularly drives mercury into the surrounding bone.Symptoms of mercury toxicity in the mouth include:
Mercury accumulates in the many sensory nerves of the ear that serve hearing and balance.Symptoms include:
Some of the mercury vapour from amalgam fillings adheres to the lining of the nose and sinuses from where it can be transported directly into the brain and cause the following symptoms:
Mercury collects within the eye balls themselves leading to the appearance of 'floaters' (dark cloudy areas), but also adversely affects the muscles controlling focussing of the eyes and lens and the sensory nerves of the retina itself leading to:
Much of the mercury from dental amalgams is swallowed along with foods or in the saliva and the digestive system is usually one of the first areas of the body to be affected. Mercury binds with and blocks the actions of digestive enzymes leading to poor digestion and the development of food intolerances.It also alters the normal gut bacteria, favouring the overgrowth of yeasts (most commonly Candida albicans) and suppressing the growth of 'friendly' bacteria which can lead to the development of intestinal permeability or a so called 'leaky gut'.Digestive symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
The immune system is one of the first casualties of mercury toxicity. It causes a reduction in the number of natural killer (NK) cells which are responsible for policing tumours and viruses leading to the development of chronic viral infections and cancer.The effects of mercury toxicity upon the immune system include:
Last, but not least, mercury particularly accumulates in the mitochondria ('powerhouses') of the cells where it poisons energy production. The presence of mercury in the circulation and the effects on energy production lead to:
If you have concerns about your dental amalgams seek out a qualified and well trained holistic dentist who understands about the impact of mercury on your health.
Amalgam is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last 150 years. Although it sometimes is called "silver amalgam," amalgam actually consists of a combination of metals. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used.Tooth-colored materials now can be used to restore teeth. Therefore, amalgam is used less often than in the past. However, the newer materials can't be used for all situations. Amalgam is less costly than other materials. It also holds up better over time, especially in teeth that undergo a lot of pressure and wear from chewing.
Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in the environment. Mercury can exist as a liquid, as in many thermometers. When heated, it becomes a gas. It also can be combined with many other materials.Everyone is exposed to mercury through air, drinking water, soil and food. Concerns have been raised, for instance, about the amount of mercury building up in fish as a result of pollution. Mercury enters the air from industries that burn mercury-containing fuels. Mercury from all sources can build up in body organs.As with most substances, the degree of harm caused by mercury in the body is related to the amount. Very low levels don't cause any ill effects. At higher levels — for instance, when workers are exposed to mercury through their jobs — mercury can cause several symptoms. These include anxiety, irritability, memory loss, headaches and fatigue.The controversy over amalgam centers on how much mercury fillings released and how much the body absorbs. In the past, amalgam fillings were thought to be inert. This would mean that no mercury was released once the filling was placed in the tooth. In recent years, sophisticated tests have changed this view. Very small amounts of mercury in the form of vapor can be released as the amalgam filling wears.Research on this issue is complex and has arrived at various estimates of the actual amount of mercury released. However, several reviews of the research have concluded that any amount released from amalgam in the mouth is very low.Studies have shown that the amount of mercury you are exposed to from your fillings is less than the amount that most people are exposed to in their daily environment or in the food they eat.
Research has not shown any health effects from amalgam fillings in pregnant women. However, mercury can cross the placenta. In general, dentists advise pregnant women to avoid unnecessary dental care. Women should not get amalgam fillings during pregnancy. Dentists can suggest other materials for any pregnant woman who needs a cavity filled.
Millions of people have amalgam fillings. Concern has been raised over the mercury in amalgam.Many studies on the safety of amalgam fillings have been done. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated this research. It found no reason to limit the use of amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.However, some groups asked the FDA to reconsider. That review is under way.
Because dentists work with mercury almost every day, they must take safety precautions. Without protection, dentists can inhale mercury vapors. Over time, this exposure can produce symptoms of mercury toxicity.To make dental amalgam, dentists mix liquid mercury with a powder containing silver, tin and other metals. Dentists buy special capsules that contain the powder and the liquid mercury, separated by a membrane. They use special machinery to puncture the membrane and mix the amalgam while it is still in the capsule. Once mixing is complete, the capsule is opened. By the time the amalgam is placed in your tooth, the mercury has formed a compound with the other metals. It is no longer toxic.If you are getting an amalgam filling or having one removed, your dentist will use high-powered suction to remove any excess amalgam from your mouth. Dentists' offices have special disposal systems for any extra amalgam. Special traps in the sink drains and in the suction tubes prevent amalgam from entering the plumbing system.
There is now a dental amalgam that contains indium as well as mercury. The indium helps retain the mercury so that less is released into the environment. There are also high-copper amalgams. They contain less mercury and more copper.Dentists use other materials to restore teeth. These include composite resin, porcelain and gold. Amalgam is stronger than composite resin and requires less time in the dentist's chair. Composite resin is a tooth-colored material. Because it wears faster than amalgam, composite resin can't be used in every situation.