How To Find A Mercury-Free Dentist
All dental amalgam restorations, often called “silver” fillings, contain approximately 50% mercury,1 and it is widely known that these fillings give off mercury vapors.2 3 4 5 6 Mercury causes harm to humans, and the levels of mercury given off of these fillings can increase due to chewing, brushing, cleaning, clenching of teeth, and other personal practices,7,8,9as well as placement, replacement, and removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings.10,11
For this reason, consumers may wish to employ the services of dentists who are trained in taking precautionary measures to protect patients from these mercury exposures. Thus, the following points are provided to assist patients in understanding and utilizing mercury-safe dentistry.
1. Familiarize yourself with the terminology of dental practices associated with measures to reduce mercury exposures.
There are a variety of methods dentists employ to address the harms of mercury, so it is essential to acknowledge the specific aims of each of these types of dentistry.
- “Mercury-free” is a term with a wide-range of implications, but it typically refers to dental practices that do not place dental mercury amalgam fillings.
- “Mercury-safe” typically refers to dental practices that use rigorous safety measures to limit or prevent mercury exposure, such as in the case of removing previously existing dental mercury amalgam fillings and replacing them with non-mercury alternatives.
- “Biological” or “Biocompatible” dentistry typically refers to dental practices that utilize mercury-free and mercury-safe dentistry while also considering the impact of dental conditions, devices, and treatments on oral and systemic health, including the biocompatibility of dental materials and techniques.
Biological dentistry is not a separate, recognized specialty of dentistry, but it is a thought process and an attitude that can apply to all facets of dental practice and to health care in general: to always seek the safest, least toxic way to accomplish the goals of modern dentistry and of contemporary health care. The IAOMT encourages the practice of biological dentistry.
2. Research the issue of mercury releases from fillings, and find the dentist that is right for you.
- To learn about dental mercury, visit these links from the IAOMT: The Mercury Problem and Facts about Mercury.
- To familiarize yourself with IAOMT’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART), visit our Safe Amalgam Removal page and use our Checklist for Safe Amalgam Removal.
- Understanding Alternatives to Mercury Amalgam Fillings is also essential for patients.
- You can search for an IAOMT dentist by using our Dentist Directory.
- A number of groups have also created resources for you to understand risks from mercury fillings. Their websites offer patient-based materials about this issue. Those marked with an asterix * include information about how to find a dentist knowledgeable about mercury dangers.
- Australians for Mercury-free Dentistry
- Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs
- Consumers for Dental Choice*
- DAMS, Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions
- Dr. Tom McGuire and Mercury Safe Dentistry*
- Hidden River Health Challenge
- Mercury Free Baby
- Natural Health 365
- TALK International*
- The International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine*
- The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology*
1. World Health Organization. Mercury in Health Care: Policy Paper. Geneva, Switzerland; August 2005: 1. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/medicalwaste/mercurypolpaper.pdf.
2. Health Canada. The Safety of Dental Amalgam. Ottawa, Ontario; 1996: 4. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/md-im/dent_amalgam-eng.pdf.
3. State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Fillings: The Choices You Have: Mercury Amalgam and Other Filling Materials. Hartford, CT: Brochure, Revised January 2011; 3. http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/mercury/gen_info/fillings_brochure.pdf.
4. Maine Bureau of Health. Filling Materials Brochure. 2002. http://www.vce.org/mercury/Maine_AmalBrochFinal2.pdf.
5. Advisory Committee on Mercury Pollution. Dental Amalgam Fillings: Environmental and Health Facts for Dental Patients. Waterbury, Vermont. http://www.mercvt.org/PDF/DentalAmalgamFactSheet.pdf.
6. Kennedy D. Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas [online video]. Champion’s Gate, FL: IAOMT; Uploaded on January 30, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ylnQ-T7oiA
7. Advisory Committee on Mercury Pollution. Dental Amalgam Fillings: Environmental and Health Facts for Dental Patients. Waterbury, VT, October 27, 2010; 1. http://www.mercvt.org/PDF/DentalAmalgamFactSheet.pdf.
8. Maine Bureau of Health. Filling Materials Brochure. 2002.http://www.vce.org/mercury/Maine_AmalBrochFinal2.pdf.
9. State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Fillings: The Choices You Have. Hartford, CT; Revised May 2011. http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/mercury/gen_info/fillings_brochure.pdf.
10. Richardson GM. Inhalation of mercury-contaminated particulate matter by dentists: an overlooked occupational risk. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 2003; 9(6): 1519-1531.
11. Health Canada. The Safety of Dental Amalgam. Ottawa, Ontario; 1996: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/md-im/dent_amalgam-eng.pdf.