Although about half of all American dentists no longer place mercury amalgam “silver” fillings, that still leaves about 100,000 who do – most of whom are using high copper amalgam.
Why high copper? “Experts” will tell you that fillings made with the material are stronger, look brighter, resist corrosion better, creep (slowly change shape) less, and help maintain better margins (the border between the tooth and filling).
What they won’t tell you is that high copper amalgam releases 50 times more mercury than traditional mercury amalgam. But maybe some will start changing their tune in light of a new study published in Biometals.
Of course, as the researchers note, “all types of dental amalgams contain mercury, which partly is emitted as mercury vapor. All types of dental amalgams corrode after being placed in the oral cavity.” But today’s high copper amalgams are also far less stable.
Firstly, when subjected to wear/polishing, droplets rich in mercury are formed on the surface, showing that mercury is not being strongly bonded to the base or alloy metals. Secondly, high copper amalgams emit substantially larger amounts of mercury vapor than the low copper amalgams used before the 1970s.
These facts, they note, have have “not been presented to policy makers and scientists.”
The result? Even more dangerous fillings in more mouths than ever, releasing more mercury than ever.
This points to the ongoing problem of so many dentists viewing the mouth in isolation and practicing like “mouth mechanics” rather than health care providers. They focus on the performance of a material at the expense of the patient’s long-term health – just as they were taught in dental school.
And all the while, organizations such as the American Dental Association keep insisting that amalgam is magic – that it stays locked in the alloy or somehow becomes benign or is released in such small amounts, it couldn’t possibly have any effect.
Tell that to the person who has become mercury toxic after decades of living with a mouthful of amalgams.
No agency or institution has ever set a maximum “safe” limit for mercury release from amalgam. It is poisonous in every form and a hazard to human health, no matter the source.
There is absolutely no reason to continue to use this dangerous material. There are safer options on the market, with new products being introduced regularly. And there are increasing numbers of consumers who are learning the truth about toxic dentistry and demanding an end to it. Demanding better. Demanding change.