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Dental Amalgams and Mercury

May 29, 2009

Did you know that the “silver” dental fillings are made out of mercury? I was about to do a bit more reading on Minamata disease at the library the other day, but I stumbled upon a book called Mercury Free by Dr. James Hardy and managed to get about halfway through it before the lights abruptly went out and I ran out of there before they locked me in.

I’m doing more research. I’ve become particularly interested in mercury poisoning after reading about the many environmental disasters in Japan during the 60s. There’s a lot of people who say that one can get mercury poisoning from dental amalgams (the silver fillings in one’s mouth) or from vaccinations (the vaccinations supposedly cause autism). The thing is, though, there’s no incontrovertible proof. Mercury Free is full of patients’ stories about the good health they experienced after removing their dental fillings, but it’s not terribly scientific. Still, there were some amazing cases of MS patients who claim to have really begun to heal after the mercury was removed from their bodies.

The American Dental Association definitely lied and twisted the truth when they released pamplets about mercury in amalgams in the 80s. Some said that the amalgams had no mercury (they are at generally 50%-70%). Some said that human bodies required small amounts of trace minerals to function and that mercury was a trace mineral (mercury is definitely not a required trace mineral, but they didn’t mention that).  Right now, the ADA website says, “the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.” Dr. Hardy says this is a lie. I want to do more research on this. How can combining mercury with a few other metals make it safe and stable? It still releases mercury vapor. It can definitely still be broken. The leftover amalgam is not to be touched by dentists or dental assistants and improper disposal can cause significant environmental damage. But it’s ok to have in one’s mouth?

The proof problem plagues the vaccine controversy as well. I read about this in the book, Evidence of Harm. The overall point of that book is simply that there’s not enough of it. But is anybody really looking hard for it?

Anyway, I definitely don’t trust the ADA very much right now and am glad I’ve never had any “silver” fillings. The history of the ADA is  certainly interesting. The first professional dental association, the American Society of Dental Surgeons, was begun in the nineteenth century as a society of dentists with actual training. Supposedly the main reason they didn’t last more than a decade was because of their opposition to poisonous, but cheap, mercury fillings. The ADA started as a group of laymen who discovered they could quit blacksmithing and carpenting and make a good buck off of dentistry, especially through mercury fillings. Is it true? Wikipedia sort of says it is, but, again, that’s Wikipedia and Dr. Hardy has a definite agenda, so I’d like to do more reading.

Now I’m reading about the European Union’s Zero Mercury Global Campaign. Dental amalgams are one of the top ways humans use mercury. The presentations at that conference recommend that all mercury use in dentistry be phased out for the good of the environment. They never come out and answer this question though: what happens to one’s silver fillings after one dies? Is there some sort of procedure for removal or are they just disposed of with the rest of the body?

In any event, the lies continue, as I saw during my last dental appointment. In every room of the tiny East San Antonio dentist’s office I go to, there hangs “Crest’s Guide to the History of Dentistry” stamped the American Dental Association seal of approval. It’s a timeline replete with pictures and explanations of the most important events in dental history. Most interesting to me is the year 1895: “G.V. Black perfects the formulation for amalgam for dental fillings: 68% silver with small amounts of copper, tin, and zinc. Expansion and contraction of fillings can now be controlled.” Next to this surprising statement is a little picture of three gray tubs labeled “Copper,” “Tin,” and “Zinc.”

I was blown away! I had read about the out and out lies published by the American Dental Association in the nineties, but this was my first time coming into contact with such a thing. This poster was printed in 1991, a year after 60 Minutes did a widely viewed story on mercury in dental amalgams.

So what’s the truth? There was a dentist named Greene Vardiman Black who did concoct a recipe for the dental amalgam in 1895 that would prove popular until the 1950s or so. However, his formulation would call for about 61% mercury with the remaining percent a mix of other metals, including a small amount of silver.

How many people out there have “silver” fillings in their mouths right now? Compare that to the number of people who know what these “silver” fillings are actually made of. It’s crazy, especially considering the number of alternatives to dental amalgams that currently exist. Dentists need to abandon the use of dental amalgams. At the very least, they need to tell their patients what these toxic metal these “silver” fillings actually are made of.

Here’s an interesting article on informed consent.

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