What to do about Mercury Dental Fillings? To be perfectly clear -Mercury is toxic-its a poison. One of the main symptoms is cognitive impairment, including memory loss. Mercury can also induce the characteristic amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It also damages the antioxidant glutathione which limits our ability to handle free radicals. So there are many reasons to stay away from this dangerous substance. And this isn’t really new.
The effects of mercury were known throughout history. Mercury toxicity resulted in the phrase “mad as a hatter” . Mercury was used in the manufacturing of felt hats during the 19th century, causing a high rate of mercury poisoning among those working in the hat industry. This was later immortalized in Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in wonderland.
There are two forms of mercury that can harm us:
Organic or methyl mercury which can be found in fish. This will be the topic of another video.
Inorganic or metal mercury can be acquired from handling old mercury thermometers but today the greatest risk is from the metal in certain fillings in our teeth.
Now how do we know if we have mercury exposure and possible early toxicity? There is a blood test but because Mercury tends to migrate to other tissues such as bone and brain the blood test may not be positive. It is thus possible to have mercury toxicity without increased blood levels. If the blood mercury is equal to or greater than 5 mcg/L then there is mercury toxicity. If blood levels are below that there still could be toxicity for the reasons mentioned.
The current most sensitive mercury test uses a combination of blood, urine and hair to make the determination. And it reports inorganic and methyl mercury levels separately so the source can be determined. Its called the Mercury Tri-Test from Quicksilver Scientific
People of a certain age may have amalgam dental fillings.
Dental amalgam is an alloy of silver, copper, tin, and zinc combined with 50% mercury.
Look in your mouth and look for the characteristic dark appearance of the amalgam.
Note some amalgam may be hidden below a crown.
So just because you don’t see any amalgam doesn’t mean it’s not there if you have crowns.
Each amalgam filling can leak up to 10 micrograms of mercury/day into circulation according to some reports.
Experts don’t agree about the toxicity of Mercury from amalgam.
For example the Alzheimer’s Association says that “according to the best available scientific evidence there is no relationship between silver dental fillings and Alzheimer’s” . Others are not so sanguine. Some studies show a relationship and others do not.
Since mercury is a known toxin, we are taking an aggressive position here if mercury is abnormally high or cognitive impairment is occurring.
The relationship between the amount of mercury and the number of amalgam fillings is not straightforward. For example the amount of mercury detected in tests is not related to number of amalgams but rather to the surface area of the amalgam. Also some amalgams leak more than others.
So what shall we do?
Here is Rule #1 that just about everyone would agree upon:
Don’t get any new amalgam fillings. Most dentists don’t use them except for certain situations if at all.
Then here is our approach for dealing with the amalgam that is already in place:
If I had cognitive impairment that isn’t responding to any other treatments then I would remove them all.
If there is no cognitive impairment then it depends on how concerned I was.
If I was not concerned then I would do nothing.
If I was concerned then I would get a mercury tests.
Either a serum mercury for $30-60.
Or the more sensitive most sensitive Tri-Test from quicksilver for $285.
If they are normal then I would do nothing.
If the serum mercury is above 5 micrograms/L or the tritest above 50% and I had excluded all other sources such as seafood then I would remove the amalgams.
Note- Amalgam Removal is not straightforward.
The greatest exposure risk is when they are put in and when they are taken out.
Removal can expose one to additional mercury. So best to have done by a dentist experienced in this area to minimize exposure. Typically to one or two removed at each appointment until all gone.
So what to do about Mercury Dental Fillings? The area is still very controversial, and the experts do not agree. First of all I would not have any new fillings with the substance. If I had either unexplained elevated mercury levels in my body or unexplained cognitive decline, I would err on the side of caution and have them removed.
Thanks for listening!
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