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Silver amalgam fillings, mercury toxicity and detox

How mercury from dental fillings causes disease


Mercury is a toxic heavy metal which in small doses can be very detrimental to human health. It affects the body in 4 main ways:

  1. Poisoning
  2. Allergic reactions
  3. Induction of auto-immunity
  4. Idiosyncratic reactions

1. Poisoning

Mercury is a heavy metal which, like lead and arsenic, is very toxic to the human body. Mercury is liquid at room temperature and so vapourizes very easily. The vapour is odourless, colourless, tasteless and when inhaled is very rapidly taken up by the blood and passes to all the other tissues of the body. Once in the tissues it enters the cells where it is converted into inorganic mercury. This highly reactive chemical reacts with sulphur containing enzymes. Enzymes are special molecules that promote chemical reactions that keep the cells, and therefore the tissues and body, alive. Without enzymes we would not be alive. Mercury's main mode of action is as an enzyme poison, with the final result being metabolic disease.

2. Allergy

Allergic reactions to mercury and other compounds in 'silver fillings' can occur locally around the teeth, gums, or oral tissues. These reactions may occur immediately or take up to several years to develop. Symptoms may appear on other parts of the body (systemic) and, as with local symptoms, may appear immediately or take several years to appear. Typical systemic reactions would be eczema and sores on face or shoulders. General dental opinion is that less than 1% of the population is sensitive to mercury. Unfortunately scientific fact shows that approximately 5% of the population is allergic to mercury - that means that 5 out of every 100 patients in a dental practice may be allergic to mercury.

3. Mercury induced auto-immunity

The immune system is the body's defense system and protects 'you' from things that are 'not you' such as infections and cancer. Autoimmunity is a reaction in the immune system where it can't tell the difference between 'you' and 'not you' and so starts to attack healthy tissues. There are many specific auto-immune diseases e.g. Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have any of these diseases, and are told that having your 'silver fillings' removed will cure you, please be very cautious. Choosing to have the mercury removed is a very positive health move and will reduce the mercury levels in your body, but it is not a scientifically proven cure for the disease.

4. Idiosyncratic reactions

Some people may be immunologicaly hypersensitive or toxicologicaly sensitive to very low doses of mercury and some individuals have idiosyncratic (strange) reactions. Often the symptoms are bizarre and difficult to diagnose, and may be included in a whole range of environmentally induced reactions totally unique to that individual.


One of the important issues facing medical research today is whether mercury from 'silver fillings' causes specific diseases. Many diseases today have no known cause and none of these have been shown to be caused by mercury from fillings. However mercury exposure, no matter how small, will cause mercury poisoning to some degree and so one should not ignore the negative effect mercury will have on your health. Removal of the mercury will be a positive health move. Remember mercury is more poisonous than both lead and arsenic.

Showing the impact that low level exposure to mercury vapour has on your health is very difficult. There is neither a single test that can show this, nor indeed any number of tests that are 100% accurate.

Lab tests will help to evaluate the following:

  • Overall health status
  • Environmental & life style factors
  • Co-existing medical factors
  • Need for therapeutic nutrition
  • Liver & kidney function during removal
  • Excretion from the body


When should fillings be removed?

In this practice we do not use 'silver fillings'. If a filling needs to be removed we do not replace it with another' silver filling'. Where possible, it is replaced with a metal free restoration, preferably a composite. Options for fillings will be outlined to you later in the booklet. Other times when 'silver fillings' should be removed are outlined below:

  • At your own request, having decided to make a positive health choice. After all it's your body and you have the choice of what you fill your teeth with.
  • At the recommendation of your Doctor where, in their opinion, your general health is being affected by mercury and removal of your fillings will aid your recovery.
  • If you have a positive patch test for mercury or have other proof of an allergic reaction to the mercury in your fillings. At present approximately 5% of people are allergic to mercury.
  • If you dentist feels that mercury is having a detrimental affect on your teeth, gums & oral tissues.

The above represents reasonable criteria for the removal of 'silver fillings' based on current published scientific data and clinical experience.


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Stewart J. Wright, Holistic Dental Practitioner, Shore Street Dental Surgery, Cawdor Place, Shore Street, Oban PA34 4LQ
 01631 563006