Let me begin by sharing a personal story: Some thirty years ago when I was at primary school, a mobile dental van would visit the school once or twice a year – as they still do now. Over my schooling period I was given a total of eight mercury amalgam fillings despite having no actual problems with my teeth – they seemed to give fillings out like candy!
Over the last couple of years I have been able to make a definitive link between those mercury fillings leeching mercury vapour into my body, and several chronic health problems. Despite a lack of scientific evidence proving that mercury from fillings is harmful, any natural health professional will show you clinical evidence to the contrary. And here is a great article from a holistic dentist explaining the effects of mercury. No matter which way you look at it, mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal – why on earth would anyone take the risk of putting it in their mouths?
So I set about having them removed and visited a dentist for the first time in twenty five years (I had a horrendous experience with braces as a teenager and hadn’t been to a dentist since – fortunately I’ve never had any problems so haven’t had to). I asked him if rather than replace the fillings, could he simply remove them? As I doubted they were necessary in the first place. Here’s what he told me:
1. I was right, the fillings were purely preventative i.e. not necessary!
2. He had to replace them, because when fillings are preventative, there is no damage or actual hole there, so the dentist must cut a hole in your tooth to put the filling into!
3. He confirmed that the mercury fillings I had were indeed breaking down – which means I had been chronically ingesting mercury for years.
I was outraged, to put it mildly! Not only had I been given fillings for no other reason than to line someone’s pocket – but over time, those completely superfluous fillings started breaking down, and slowly but surely poisoned me, causing untold damage to my body and health.
The moral of the story: when it comes to your child’s health – oral or otherwise - be an informed parent that is able to make informed decisions in the best interest of your child. Do not blindly follow the advice of any health professional; ask questions, get a second opinion, and trust your instincts!
Certainly you always want to have a clear understanding of any treatment or procedures that are recommended and performed. Second opinions are also a good idea if you are unsure. But allot of changes have happened in twenty five years in the dental field. Allot of offices do not use amalgam anymore if they can help it. Amalgam fillings are cheaper than resin fillings. Insurances often cover less for resins than amalgams. So concerns about money are usually a driving force behind the use of amalgam these days in dentistry by the patient. Also realize that twenty five years ago resin fillings were new, before that amalgam was standard of care. So your options were to get amalgam fillings or not treat decay, and eventually get your tooth pulled from extensive decay (maybe a crown could be possible somewhere in between ). I don't know about the use of amalgam for prevention twenty five years ago, this is the first I've ever heard of anything like that. I personally had resin sealants done twenty five years ago, they are done the same way now days, just with improved resin materials. They are preventative only, no tooth structure is removed to place them. If decay is present, it needs to be removed along with a minimal amount of tooth structure, a filling must be placed.
Very interesting article Clare. I was given 4 mercury fillings as a child at primary school by the school dental nurse. They were the only 4 I was ever given in my life as I've been lucky to have pretty healthy teeth. I've since had them replaced with the composite fillings but now at the age of 50, I have issues with these same 4 teeth. They have cracks which my current dentist advised were probably caused by the mercury expanding & contracting. And don't even get me started about the fluoride that was forced upon us.
It's always good to question your health professional if you are not sure about the treatment they are offering. We do have a choice. Thank goodness for the Internet which helps keeps us all better informed about these types of issues. Thank you for the article.