Category Archives: Mercury-free Dentist

Would my child be best served by a mercury-free dentist?

I have been considering taking my son to a mercury-free dentist. I feel a bit torn because my fillings are still standing and I have had them for over 20 years and they are the silver, amalgam type. That said, I don’t want to expose my son to mercury if I don’t have to. Any advice on the subject? If I decide to see a mercury-free dentist, the down side is it will be a new dentist. He likes our family dentist and I don’t want him to be nervous either. Can you tell me the benefits of going to a mercury-free practice? Is it worth it?

-Jan in Minnesota

The American Dental Association, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry still stand behind the claim that mercury-free fillings are completely safe. But, we all know the health dangers of mercury. The main question is that if there is another alternative that functions just as well, then why not go with the mercury-free option?

How certain are you that you need to switch dentists? Almost all dentists offer white composite fillings as an alternative which are completely mercury-free. There are many benefits of choosing a mercury-free dentist. They are actually stronger than amalgam fillings, less of the natural tooth structure is removed and they are tooth-colored so they blend in with the surrounding teeth. So before you make the decision to switch, ask your dentist about the options available to your son at your existing practice.

Sometimes pediatric dentists still prefer to place amalgam fillings on children. This is mainly due to the fact that the child must sit completely still during the procedure and the area must dry completely in order for the bond to be successful. So if your dentist won’t work with you on this, you may need to consider moving to a new mercury-free dentist if that is the route you decide to go. Sedation dentistry or what pediatric dentists like to refer to as “goofy gas” (nitrous oxide) will help keep your son relaxed and help keep him still in the chair. Pediatric dentists also do a lot to help keep children engaged, calm and they often have movies to distract children during appointments and this may be a successful approach to pursue the tooth-colored, mercury-free fillings.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is a BPA filling worse than a filling with mercury?

I am trying to make some healthier, holistic choices for me and my family. I have decided that I would like to have my old amalgam fillings replaced by a holistic dentist. But the more research I do, I’m discovering that basically means that the white composite material contains BPA. Part of me thinks I may be better off leaving the mercury in my body. BPA is just as detrimental. So, my big question – which is worse? When I tried to discuss this with my current dentist he basically told me that holistic dentistry is a fad. His standpoint was don’t fix it, unless it’s broken.

-Becky in California

Becky,

When you lay it out in that way, it sounds like your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The FDA and ADA still support the use of mercury-containing amalgam fillings. But it is no secret how bad BPA and mercury can be to us. These organizations feel that both of these filling materials are safe and effective when used correctly. That said, there is a growing movement of holistic dentists that feel differently.

If you examine the research regarding mercury toxicity, it suggests the possibility of neurological and nervous system problems. Whereas BPA exposure studies site hormonal problems and potential organ failure. So, none of these “evils” sound like a positive choice.

There are holistic dentists that empathize with your views. They support sanitary amalgam removal and will replace the fillings with BPA-free, white composite fillings. This is a relatively newer movement. So, you will need to find the right dentist that aligns with your preferences. But with continued research and perseverance, you should be able to locate a BPA-free and mercury-free dentist in your area. It sounds like the peace of mind will be worth it.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is it safe to remove amalgam fillings?

I have several very old silver fillings from when I was a kid. I honestly can’t even believe that they are still in tact. My old dentist told me that they were fine as long as they weren’t bothering me and it was perfectly fine to keep them. But I want to get them replaced with white fillings. I heard the mercury can leak in the removal process. Is that true? Is it safe to get the old ones removed or more of a risk to my health?

-Pam in Indiana

Pam,

Many people are concerned about the possible negative health risks that exist from having mercury in their mouth. Some feel strongly that amalgam (silver) fillings release some of the mercury gas as they get older and become corroded. Although, the possibility exists, it is important to mention that the ADA still deems them to be completely safe.

It’s true that the amalgam removal process is dangerous if it is not done properly. So you want to seek out a mercury-free dentist that offers sanitary amalgam removal services. You may also find a qualified individual that offers these services by searching for a holistic dentist or natural dentist, as well. A dentist like this will be specifically trained to safely remove old amalgam fillings. This will keep you safe by minimizing your exposure to the mercury-containing substance. There is special equipment and techniques that a holistic dentist uses, including an alternate breathing source and total isolation of the tooth that is being treated. These safety measures will ensure that you do not breathe in or swallow any of the harmful materials.

Then, white composite fillings are used to replace the old amalgam fillings. These new fillings offer many benefits. They strengthen the tooth, do not contain mercury, have less post-operative sensitivity, and look nicer too. They require an advanced training and understanding of bonding techniques to properly place them.

On the other hand, if your old fillings haven’t chipped or cracked, it is not necessary that they be removed. They may function just fine for years to come. If you are concerned, it would be wise to discuss your options with your current dentist. Thank you for your question. This subject continues to be highly controversial in dentistry today, especially as there are more holistic dentistry options.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.