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Silver amalgam fillings, mercury toxicity and detox

Are these alternative materials safe?

The ability to measure toxic materials has always been difficult, and their affect on the body almost impossible to determine due to the individuality of each person. When Dr Richardson carried out equivalent tests on composites to those he did on amalgam for the Canada Health 2000 group he found no significant risk in the use of composites. Antibodies are usually produced when toxic elements are introduced to the body. One way of assessing the toxic affect of a material is to measure these antibodies, as carried out in the Clifford Materials Reactivity Test. This test is useful when treating environmentally compromised or highly allergic patients. Applied kinesiology is a well researched technique that we use in the practice to help asses the biocompatability of the various materials we use. It involves testing the body's reaction to a material by using the strength of various muscles as the indicator.


What precautions are taken during silver amalgam filling removal?

When the fillings are drilled out, heat and small particles of filling are produced. Consequently there is a high risk of mercury exposure at these times. This risk can be minimized by taking a few precautions:

  • The use of rubber dam, which is a thin sheet of rubber that isolates the teeth from the rest of the mouth, and protects the patient from swallowing particles of filling. It also reduces the amount of vapour inhaled
  • The use of special suction devices that cover each individual tooth as it is drilled, and provide high volume vacuum suction
  • The use of an alternative source of air to breath which reduces the chance of inhaling mercury vapour produced from the drilling
  • Using room fans and ionizers to keep the air moving and carry the vapour away from the patient
  • The use of protective covering and eye protection for the patient as the skin, and especially the eyes, absorb mercury when it is in contact with the skin
  • The use of copious amounts of cold water when drilling as this reduces the amount of vapour produced as well as reducing the trauma to the tooth from the heat produced while drilling
  • In our practice we also use a chelating agent to bind with the vapour and make it less available to the body.
  • By sectioning the filling, instead of grinding it out, the amount of vapour is reduced.

Nutrition and Detox

As described earlier in the article, mercury affects the body in different ways. To minimize the metabolic affect of the mercury, specific nutrition can be taken. Minerals and vitamins affect the way in which the mercury is metabolized and taken up by the body. Simply put, vitamins and minerals are either used to make new enzymes to replace the ones destroyed by the mercury, or they attach to the mercury and make it less bio-valuable. This is a very complicated subject, if you wish to know more about it please ask and we can give you more information.

Supplements should be taken before during and after 'silver filling' removal. A typical supplementation regime is outlined below:

  • General B vitamin complex formula 15-25 mg of each of the B vitamins each day taken with breakfast
  • Vitamin C 1000mg, 2xday
  • Zinc 13 -30 mg (amino acid chelate) after evening meal
  • Selenium (150-200 micro grams) with lunch
  • Vitamin E (400iu), 1 capsule with lunch
  • Acidophilus capsule, 1 before breakfast & 1 after supper

Preparatory complexes are available for nutritional supplementation. Please ask at the practice.

There are other therapies available to help with removing mercury from the body:

  • Sweat therapy - one of the main excretion pathways for mercury is through the skin by sweating. Steam baths and saunas, plus exercise, are good ways of increasing the amount of mercury eliminated
  • Chelation therapy uses drugs that have a strong affinity for mercury and eliminate it from the body. These drugs are not without side affects and should be given under the supervision of a doctor. They are very efficient at reducing the body's mercury burden.


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5. Patterson, J.E. ; Wiessberg, B.G. ; & Dennison, P.J. (1985)Mercury in human breath from dental amalgam. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 34, 111-123.

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11. Truono, E.J. (1991) letter of importance JADA 122;8-14.

12. ADA News Release (1990): ADA Reaffirms Safety & Effectiveness of Dental Amalgam.

13. Denscher, G.Horsted-Bindslev, P. & Rungby,J. (1990): Traces of mercury in organs of primates with amalgam fillings. Exp. Mol. Path. 52, 291-299.

14. Vimy, M.J. , Takahashi, Y. & Lorschieder, F.L. (1990): Maternal-fetal distribution of mercury (203-Hg) released from dental amalgam fillings. Am. J. Physiol. 258,R939-R945.

15. Vimy, M.J., Boyd, N.D., & Lorscheider, F.L. (1990) Glomerular filtration impairment by mercury released from dental 'silver' fillings in sheep. Am. Physiol. Soc. Fall meeting Orlando Fl. Oct. 9. 1990 The Physiologist 33(4), 94, 1990.

16. Summers, A.O., Wireman,J., Vimy, M.J., Lorscheider, F.L., Marchall, B., Levy, S.B., Bennet, S., & billard, L. Mercury released from dental 'silver' fillings provokes an increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria in primate oral and intestinal flora. Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy,37: 825-834, 1993.

17. Thompson, C.M. Markesbery, W.R., Ehmann, W.D., Mao, Y-x. & Vance, D.E. Regional brain trace-element studies in Alzheimar's disease. Neurotoxicol 1988 9, 1-7.

18. Wenstrup, D., Ehmann, W.D., & Markesbery, W.R. Trace element imbalances in isolated subcellular fractions of Alzheimer's disease brains. Brain Res 1990 533, 125-131.

19. Duhr, E., Pendergrass, C., Kasarskis, E. Slevin, J. & Haley, B. Hg2+ induces GTP-tubulin intractions in rat brain similar to those observed in Alzheimer's disease FASEB J 1991; 5 A456.

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