Mercury Safe Dentistry
Mercury free is not synonymous with mercury safe. A mercury free dentist does not place amalgam fillings in patients' teeth but will drill on existing amalgam fillings without providing protection from mercury vapor and debris to patient and dental team. A mercury safe dentist, on the other hand, employs layers of protective technology and follows strict safety protocols in order to minimize everyone's exposure to mercury during the replacement procedure.
Mercury Free vs Mercury Safe
There are approximately 210,000 dentists in America. While many people think mercury amalgam fillings are no longer used in dentistry, a staggering 48% of dentists still actively place amalgam fillings on a routine basis. The silver lining (pun intended) is that 52% - or about 110,000 dentists - no longer places amalgam fillings. Unfortunately, of the 110,000 mercury-free dentists in America, less than 10% practice mercury safe biologic dentistry.
All amalgam fillings contain 48-52% mercury, depending on brand, even those placed across America today. Other metal components of these fillings are copper, silver, tin, and zinc.
Mercury is the most neurotoxic nonradioactive element on the planet, more neurotoxic than arsenic or lead.
Dental researchers now concede that mercury vapor is released from unstimulated amalgam fillings 24 hours a day. Debate centers on (1) how much mercury vapor is emitted and (2) how efficiently different individuals bind and eliminate emitted toxins.
For some people, signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning begin almost immediately upon exposure. These individuals are said to be allergic to mercury; they are not genetically predisposed to eliminate neurotoxins and heavy metals efficiently. Other individuals may experience an insidious onset of symptoms months or years later and do not tend to relate symptoms to amalgam fillings. Still others are genetically predisposed to eliminate neurotoxins and heavy metals with considerable efficiency.
Chewing, brushing, temperature increases (hot liquids or foods), professional tooth polishing (if hygienist does not avoid amalgams), and clenching/grinding have been shown to stimulate the emission of mercury vapor. There is substantiated scientific evidence that approximately 90% of inhaled mercury vapor enters the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, mercury is distributed throughout the body and stored in organs, glands, and tissues, rendering body burden measurement difficult through traditional hair, blood, or urine analysis.
Many mercury toxicologists have concluded that no amount of human exposure to mercury vapor is harmless.
The FDA and the American Dental Association promote amalgam fillings as standard of care dentistry.
Sweden, Austria, Denmark, and Norway and other countries have banned amalgam fillings.
In the United States, on June 4, 2008, the FDA reversed its previously pro-amalgam safety stand to warn on its website: “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.” The FDA revoked its 2008 warning in 2009.
Our goal as dental providers is to offer the safest possible replacement as old amalgams break down.
Dr. Lou, Dr. Wendy, and Dr. Matt are all accredited by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (www.iaomt.org) for mercury-safe dentistry. Dr. Lou, Dr. Wendy, Dr. Matt, and Dr. Dave are also certified S.M.A.R.T. by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
MERCURY-SAFE PROTOCOL FOR AMALGAM REPLACEMENT
For OUR Safety
For us, exposure to ambient mercury is an occupational hazard. Our rubber-based masks have two filters, an outer one to trap mercury particulates that can lodge in our lungs during amalgam-removal and an inner one to filter mercury dust and vapor.
For YOUR Safety
A NARROW, ROUND-TIP BUR sections old amalgam fillings in the largest chunks possible to reduce release of mercury vapor, particulates, and dust.
A NOSE HOOD with unidirectional continual-flow fresh air supply protects your nasal breathing space.
The ISOLITE INTRA-ORAL PROTECTOR connects directly to the high-speed vac to pull mercury vapor, particulates, and dust from your oral breathing space. We believe this full mouth suction technology is more efficacious than the blocking technology represented by the traditional rubber dam. (Clinical trials indicate that mercury vapor passes through the latex rubber dam during mercury-amalgam removal. The vinyl rubber dam provides more protection than latex.)
Copious use of OZONATED WATER during amalgam removal suppresses mercury vapor, particulates, and dust, removing amalgam debris in the Isolite suction system. We also use ozonated water in our lines.
Charcoal rinse/swallow prior to amalgam removal coats the oral mucosa and tongue with tasteless black powder to prevent absorption of mercury debris into soft oral tissues and the digestive tract. Our USP food-grade, coconut-shell, ACTIVATED CHARCOAL SLURRY is processed to meet purification standards required for medical use. Charcoal absorbs toxins, drugs and poisons from the human body. The slurry also absorbs birth control pills, antibiotics, chronic disease medication, etc. ingested two hours prior or two hours post. To avoid charcoal absorption of prescription drugs, those patients might choose to rinse only.
An ORA-SHIELD DENTAL DAM NAPKIN drapes facial skin (available upon request).
LG-2 IONIZERS from AESI-Air Defense in the ceiling of each restorative operatory capture mercury debris that escapes the Isolite. LG-2 Ionizers create a continuous electrophoresis effect, negatively ionizing ambient particles to drive them toward positively-charged field collectors that render them inert electrically. LG-2 Ionizers have been shown to reduce recordable ambient mercury levels to zero instantaneously. (LG-2 Ionizers have also been shown to trap and neutralize airborne and blood borne pathogens, bacteria, pollen, allergens, hydro-carbons, and elemental metals. They neutralize particles too small for HEPA filters, even to .001 micron.)
The flexible, self-supporting suction arm of the IQAIR DENTAL HG (MERCURY) FLEXVAC positions near the patient's mouth to capture mercury vapor and particulates, reducing measurable ambient mercury debris (as well as drill aerosols, VOC’s, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, dust, viruses, bacteria, and microbial contaminates) to nearly zero.
As post-removal protocol if decay is close to the nerve, we apply MEDICAL-GRADE OXYGEN-OZONE to the preparation site in the tooth from which we have removed the accessible decay in order to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses prior to restoration. Medical-dental oxygen/ozone creates a therapeutic oxygen-rich environment that induces a multi-factorial positive biochemical/physiologic change in affected tissues.
Meticulous maintenance of equipment maximizes the efficiency of our technology, and we use ozonated water in our lines.
We protect the environment with the AMALGAMBOSS MERCURY SEPARATOR installed on our wastewater lines. The AmalgamBoss extracts and contains mercury amalgam fragments before they are released into the public water system. Pennsylvania now requires amalgam separators for dental offices, eliminating the annual discharge of some 20 tons of mercury into the environment. Approximately 64% of the mercury load on city wastewater management has historically come from dentistry. The AmalgamBoss tests at a 99%+ capture rate to keep municipal sludge mercury-free.
We strive to maintain a quiet electromagnetic field as well. We know mercury-compromised individuals can experience heightened sensitivity to EMF’s. We’ve installed a Four Leaf Energy IC Unit to minimize the overall electromagnetic field. Every fluorescent overhead light fixture has been converted to cleaner energy; ballasts/transformers are completely severed and mercury-free LED’s replace fluorescent tubes throughout the entire office.
If you are sensitive to EM fields, ask us how to reduce potential electromagnetic field pollution in your sleeping space while you undergo the process of dental revision. Did you know, for instance, that an extension cord beneath your bed emits a constant electromagnetic field, even when all appliances are turned off? If you experience insomnia due to EMF sensitivity, especially if you have silver fillings or metal crown or bridge work, eliminating the electromagnetic field around your bed can provide healing sleep to your overloaded central nervous system.
Replacing any filling material, for whatever reason, involves drilling out existing material, cleansing and drying the exposed area, and placing new materials. A tooth that starts comfortable - especially if it contains an amalgam filling that is deep or larger than the remaining tooth structure - can be rendered sensitive or even painful during the replacement process, regardless of replacement material chosen or skill of your dentist. If a tooth has been traumatized in the past, or if decay beneath the existing filling has drawn too near the nerve, it will become necessary to decide between (1) root canal therapy (not an option that we recommend: root canalled teeth present their own health challenges to the body) or (2) extraction under biologic protocol.
Finally, whether clinically necessitated or elective, removing amalgam fillings will produce a transient increase in a person’s exposure to mercury. We minimize exposure to guest and team through physical barriers and advanced technology. As mercury burden is removed from teeth, however, the body will begin to release certain amounts of stored mercury into the bloodstream in anticipation of elimination from the body. That is, the body will retoxify in the process of detoxifying. You must have your paths of elimination - liver, gallbladder, kidneys, skin, lymph - open in anticipation of this natural process. A person who is mercury-toxic or sensitive may experience an increase in both physical and emotional symptoms for an unpredictable period of time following amalgam removal. Nutritional and metabolic precautions can be taken, especially to support the paths of elimination. If you believe that you are mercury toxic or sensitive, we suggest consultation with a nutritionist/naturopath/integrative MD/other health practitioner experienced in mercury toxicity.