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Movin' the mercury: here's what you need to know if you've decided to have your "silver" dental fillings removed.

If you haven't thought of your mouth as a toxic dump requiring high-tech clean-up procedures, you should. Mercury amalgam is deadly dangerous when being placed in your mouth and when being removed - to your nervous and immune systems as well as to those of your dentist and the dental assistant.

So, what should you know when you want to have your silver fillings taken out?

Depending on your individual susceptibility, reactions differ, but no living organism can tolerate mercury. A safety protocol was developed by the International Academy of Medical and Oral Toxicology (IAMOT). Many Canadian dentists are members. Fillings should be removed either by dentists who have never used mercury fillings (those rare enlightened types exist!), or IAMOT trained dentists.

Dr. Rick Riley of Huntsville, Ontario, is one dentist who specializes in amalgam removal in ill persons. He uses devices that continually bring clean, compressed oxygen to the patient, himself and his assistant during the procedure. A rubber dam is placed in the mouth to prevent mercury vapour from reaching the brain. A carbide, rather than a diamond drill dissects (not grinds) out the mercury filling, thereby minimizing the production of toxic micro-particles which would damage the lungs and kidneys.

Clean-up requires that nothing winds up in the water supply (a teaspoon of mercury kills all life in a pond!). The tooth itself is surrounded by a device that protects the gums, because mercury kills cells on contact. Everybody in the room is draped completely for the same reason. (Those readers old enough to remember the ignorant recklessness with which X-ray examinations used to be done, will recognize a parallel development towards justified, extreme caution starting in dental offices.) The schedule of removal depends on the patient's state of health, response to the first removal, potential problems with the anaesthetic (some types can be harmful), and need for alternative methods, such as acupuncture.

No amalgam removal should be undertaken without antioxidant supplementation, with which a trained dentist will be familiar. Amalgam removal may need to be followed by some detoxification program.

Various types of replacement fillings are available, and your dentist should have you tested for the very rare possibility of allergic response prior to deciding which works best for you. The myth that the natural resin-based or porcelain fillings do not last as long as traditional amalgam is just that-a myth. In fact, clinical studies show that traditional amalgam cannot bond with bone and tooth enamel, hence the shrinking and deterioration of these fillings-the process by which mercury vapour reaches the brain. Alternative fillings actually bond with the tooth and last much longer. However, their use requires specialized training, the only sideeffect being increased sensitivity to heat and cold lasting some weeks, then disappearing. Sometimes, there is aching during chewing; this requires an adjustment (filing of the cusps) as white fillings set differently than traditional amalgam. Those are, however, very minor inconveniences compared to the hell of chronic illness to which those poisoned by mercury are condemned.

Contact:

Citizens For Mercury Free Dentistry

Mississauga, Ontario

Phone: (905) 566-5117

Health Action Network

Calgary,Alberta

Phone: (403) 295-3336

IAMOT Canada

Toronto, Ontario

Phone: (416) 225-4169.

Helke Ferrie is a free-lance science writer who lives in Alton, Ontario. Together with environmental medicine physician, Dr. Jozef Krop of Mississauga, she is writing a book on the politics and science of alternative medicine in Canada.
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Author:Ferrie, Helke
Publication:Natural Life
Date:May 1, 1998
Words:562
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