Even though good, nontoxic alternatives are available, dental students are still taught that “silver” mercury amalgam fillings are the “standard of care” – just as they were back in the 1970s when Dr. Glaros first began practicing dentistry.
And yes, once upon a time, he placed them, too. What’s more, he chose a high-copper amalgam so he could polish them and they would last longer.
Of course, he wondered how something he’d been taught was hazardous outside the mouth could possibly be safe once implanted in living human tissue. “Don’t heat it!” his professors had always cautioned. “Don’t eat around it! Don’t touch it with your bare hands!”
How could it be a poison outside the tooth and not still be a poison inside, as well?
When the first composite filling materials for the back teeth came out in the early 1980s, Dr. Glaros liked the material and began offering it as an alternative. At the end of October 1984, he was stunned to learn that not a single patient had requested amalgam. Every one opted for the composite.
That was the moment he decided he would never place mercury again.
Soon after, he was studying with one of the true pioneers of mercury-free dentistry, Dr. Hal Huggins. Over more than 40 continuing education days, he learned about nutritional support, about sequential removal of restorations based on current readings, about minimizing patient exposure to mercury vapors, particles, and pollutants.
He also learned, to his dismay, that the high-copper amalgam he had once opted for released 50 times more mercury than standard amalgam. “I was not,” he says, “and am not proud of that discovery.”
Now today, he is a leader and respected figure in the realm of mercury-safe biological dentistry. Recently, he appeared on the new Internet radio show The Tooth/Body Connection to talk about these issues, as well as what every person considering mercury removal should know before having any work done:
In the 30+ years that our office has been both mercury-free and mercury-safe, a lot has changed. Many more dentists have become mercury-free – some merely in response to patient demand, others because they scrutinized the science. And now with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, momentum has shifted even further in our direction. At least one major insurance company is reconsidering its policy of reimbursing only for amalgam, not healthier alternatives.
Thirty years ago, who would have thought we’d be where we are now?
Much credit must go to the two who are again spearheading Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, which kicked off this past Sunday: Dr. Joseph Mercola for bringing so much attention to the issue and Consumers for Dental Choice, who have tirelessly fought for mercury-free dentistry in the legal realm. Much credit and much gratitude.
And what’s next? Dr. Mercola writes,
At present, the US FDA is the barrier. We’ve defeated the dental boards. We defeated the ADA at Minamata. But the FDA refuses to take a stand against amalgam. For example, the FDA doesn’t require dentists to disclose the presence of mercury in amalgam to their patients as a matter of rule. They also keep promoting use of the term “silver fillings,” even though it’s clearly misleading and deceptive.
“We have pushed them; they push back. A couple of years ago, the FDA chief of public affairs director wrote to the deputy commissioner and said, ‘We need to have a communications end game for Charlie Brown.’ Well, I’m happy to say that both of those guys are gone from the FDA and I’m still here,” Charlie says.
In September, Consumer’s for Dental Choice will launch a more ambitious plan to tackle the FDA, and they need your help to do so. “We urge your participation as we take on the FDA. It will not be easy. We need funding. We urge people to give,” he says. As in previous years, I will be matching every donation dollar for dollar. The goal is to raise $100,000, which we raised last year. We need to do that again, and with your help, we can.
Another way you can help is simply by spreading the word about mercury-free, mercury-safe dentistry, educating people about their options and giving them the info they need to make good, health-nurturing choices. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. Share our posts and those of other like-minded dentists, physicians, organizations and activists.
And if you’ve chosen mercury removal, share your story with others – here or in other forums. Let people know the difference it made in your life. Your stories provide hope and motivation and confirmation that yes, mercury-free matters. A lot.