“BIOLOGICAL DENTISTRY” IS AN ATTITUDE…"

Biological dentistry is not a separate, recognised specialty of dentistry, but it is a thought process. We are not attempting to stake out a new speciality for dentistry but to describe 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 mission of treatment and to do it while treading as softly as possible on the patient’s biological terrain.

The IAOMT encourages the practice of biological dentistry.


THE FACTS

All dental amalgam restorations, often called “silver” fillings, contain approximately 50% mercury,1 and it is widely known that these fillings give off mercury vapours2 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 utilising mercury-safe dentistry.

1. Familiarise 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 utilise 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.

2. Research the issue of mercury releases from fillings, and find the dentist that is right for you.

  • To learn about dental mercury, visit our Resources.
  • You can search for an IAOMT dentist by using our Dentist Directory.
  • To familiarise yourself with IAOMT’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART).
  • Understanding Alternatives to Mercury Amalgam Fillings is also essential for patients.
  • Further information is also available at IAOMT US

REFERENCES

1. World Health Organisation. 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.