Do you have any amalgam fillings in your teeth? You may recognize them as silver fillings. Dentists have for years used them regularly to repair cavities. They are made up of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. The mercury binds the mixture together to make for a strong, durable filling.
These fillings have been used in dentistry for the last 150 years. More recently it has come to light that if a person has a mouthful of these fillings that toxic levels of mercury can trigger other health issues. I know because I’ve lived through that nightmare. When I was growing up, every cavity got an amalgam filling and I had many. Over time, the effects of having so much mercury in my teeth caused health issues.
My Toxic Journey
For many years, I was sick – diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other non-specific labels that generally mean that doctors just don’t know what has gone wrong in the body. I was lucky enough to have a doctor who tested for heavy metal toxicity. These metals can leech into your system and if the body cannot metabolize them (either get rid of them through the normal detoxification processes or use them for a nutritional benefit) then they can cause toxicity.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)  provides information on the substances that can be harmful and the diseases related to them. ATSDR lists mercury as number 3 on their Substance Priority list. After my heavy metal testing, my level was so high that the chart didn’t have a number – it was way off the chart – and just listed my exposure as toxic. I started on a DMSA chelation therapy  and scheduled to have my mercury fillings removed. Chelation is the process of removing the metal from the body by taking an agent (in my case DMSA) which binds to the metal and draws it out of the body. I took an oral dose of DMSA and once the metals have bound to the drug (over the course of treatment), they get filtered in the blood, enter the kidneys and then eliminated in urine.
It was a long journey – took a year to safely remove all of the fillings in my mouth and replace them with composite filings. These are the white, tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture, also referred to as cosmetic fillings. Throughout this process, I was still feeling pain from the fibro and serious bouts of exhaustion. My body was trying to recover from the toxic levels of metal in my body. But gradually, once the metal was removed and chelated from my system I started to feel some relief. But for me that was only a piece of the puzzle.
As much as mercury toxicity can cause neurological, liver and kidney function that doesn’t mean that once they are purged from your system that you have a clean bill of health. It is a start but you must be diligent not to expose yourself to other toxins. And we live in a toxic world. For me, the toxins remaining were in my food.
Only Part of the Health Journey
That’s when I began my serious research in to nutrition. I couldn’t trust my health to someone else to make the right decisions for me. I took back my power and no longer allowed anyone, doctor, dentist, nurse or any other practitioner to tell me that a treatment was the “gold standard” without thoughtful investigation. This holds true for my food. I question where it is grown, how it is raised, what conditions may have an affect on the nutrition of what I am about to buy before I eat it. This holds true for restaurants too. I won’t eat what I don’t think will benefit me.
I am very happy that none of my children have every had an amalgam filling. That’s one less worry about their health. To this day, there are dentists that still fill teeth with amalgam fillings or people who don’t know the risks who allow them to be used. Be aware and share your awareness with others. They are more affordable than composite fillings and still widely used even though it has been known for years that they can cause toxicity. Don’t be silent! Tell your dentist no mercury fillings and encourage anyone who has amalgam fillings to see a biological or natural dentist to have them removed. They have to be removed cautiously so not to spread the mercury vapor. Find a trained dentist to remove them with the appropriate safety precautions in place. There are Internet directories that can help you find a dentist who can properly remove mercury fillings.