Consider a few sentences:
Earth is a planet.
Earth is in the Milky Way.
Earth is the center of our solar system.
Earth is round.
For just a fraction of a second, that third sentence may have sounded plausible – even though it’s completely wrong. Surround a lie with fact, and it can seem just as undeniable. At the very least, it may be overlooked.
And so it goes with a recent article we saw, which claimed to expose a number of “dental myths.” Couched among a whole lot of correct information, though, was some that was off the mark, especially this gem:
A myth? Hardly.
We’ve already looked a lot at how misleading it is to call amalgam fillings “silver” fillings. Yes, they do contain some silver, but they’re mostly mercury. Mercury is a known neurotoxin, and it is released from amalgam fillings with every bite and swallow. Some of it may be excreted. Some may build up in the body, including – mere inches away from the teeth – the brain.
That, to put it mildly, is a problem.
Considering how many safer alternative materials are available to repair and restore teeth, there is simply no good reason to continue using this antique technology. Its risks far outweigh any benefits, most of which are the dentist’s, not the patient’s. (Amalgam fillings are cheaper, quicker and easier to place, and dental insurance always pays for them.)
As for research, apparently Dr. Toscano is unfamiliar with the many hundreds of studies that do, in fact, document harm. Just last month, new research showed that women exposed to mercury via dental amalgam have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
That said, no conscientious biological dentist will tell every patient, “You must get your amalgams removed,” especially if the patient is healthy and shows no symptoms of mercury toxicity. (Some people are able to excrete heavy metals more efficiently than others, especially if only a few surfaces are filled.)
Proper testing – including biocompatibility testing – must first be done to understand the role mercury fillings may be playing in the person’s health, along with any other potential impediments such as root canal teeth and cavitations. But more, it is ultimately the patient’s choice whether to have their amalgams removed and replaced or not. We give each of our patients the information they need so that they can make the most informed decision possible regarding their health and well-being.
Mercury removal is nothing to take cavalierly. This is why, when a patient does opt for it, we follow strict safety protocols to protect the patient, ourselves and our planet from mercury exposure, as shown in our slideshow.
Yes, the ADA “still supports the use of Amalgam fillings,” but the ADA is not a scientific body. It is a professional association. It exists to advance the interests of its members, all of whom have been taught in dental school that amalgam is a-ok. The FDA perpetuates this myth, too, refusing to accept the science showing real harm to real people from the widespread use of amalgam. There’s a strange faith that mercury somehow becomes harmless when planted inside a living tooth.
Now THAT is a myth for debunking.