Proper protocol is key for handling hazardous dental fillings

Proper protocol is key for handling hazardous dental fillings

Beyond the debate among dentists on the efficacy of dental amalgam for tooth restoration lies the undisputed safety concerns over its removal. Learn how and why dental amalgam, more commonly known as mercury fillings, should be removed in order to ensure the safety of a patient, dentist and dental staff.


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Diana Foley


I had amalgam fillings for over 30 years & had them all removed 4 years ago after being diagnosed by my doctor of natural medicine with heavy metal poisoning...both lead and mercury levels were off the charts. I went through a year of IV chelation treatments twice a week and continue to detox using other methods. I no longer have sinus problems and a host of other chronic ailments went away. I sought out a dentist who specialized in amalgam removals.



Over the course of the last two years, I had all my amalgam fillings removed. Not because of the mercury issue, but because the dentist convinced me that using composite vs. amalgam would spare my teeth. The theory being that a.) amalgam fillings shrink over time, allowing decay to form in the spaces left underneath and b.) after amalgams have been replaced a few times, there is less tooth left vs. amalgam and that will then cause the tooth to crack, resulting in the need for a crown--as opposed to composite which will break before the tooth and can be replaced.

I'm not 100% sure I buy that theory now, but it was true that when several of the amalgams were removed, there was decay in the crevices (these were not problem teeth when they were removed).

The bad news is that although the dentist told me composite fillings would last 5-10 years on average, it's been more like 2 years.

Does make one wonder about the profit motive.

Marie Flowers

Subject: Composite Fillings Last if Dentist is Experienced

Composite filling placement is more technique sensitive than the placement of amalgam fillings. That is why it is important to first of all, find a dentist who will remove the old mercury fillings safely, but also be experienced enough in the placement of the composite fillings to do it well.

DAMS, Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions is a patients' support group educating the public on avoiding toxic dentistry and what constitutes safe dentistry. DAMS provides an information packet and list of holistic dentists who use safe precautions while removing old mercury containing amalgam fillings. DAMS works along side the holistic dental association dentists to aid in educating the public since most dentists do not have time to do this during the office visits, and dentists may also be threatened by their dental boards if they do so.

I want to thank Angie's List for educating the public on this issue.

Marie Flowers
DAMS President

M Woods


Mercury fillings are banned in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They are apparently discouraged in Canada, Austria, and Germany. My dentist admits that disposing of the mercury is a challenge due to EPA rules. I have been getting mercury fillings removed by a dentist who does not take the problem seriously, unfortunately, but my chronic sinus problems are much better.



Removing amalgam fillings exposes patients to far more volatile mercury than they would ever receive in a lifetime of leaving their fillings in place. Jim and Pip's anecdotes above are classic examples of confusing correlation with causation. covers the scientific evidence pretty carefully, and points out that dentists promoting amalgam removals have a pretty hefty financial conflict of interest, especially given the lack of evidence that amalgam fillings cause harm.

Leslie DeLong


This is a very controversial subject. The experts have not been able to come to a concensus on whether or not the amalgam fillings have the potential to be harmful. The reader should be wary when confronted with this type of information. Most often there is little science behind the reports. For instance in this case many of the studies were done on sheep whose bite is much stronger and abrasive than ours. The studies done on humans are inconclusive because of the presence of the environmental mercury we are exposed to almost everyday...they can't tell where the mercury comes from so how can they blame it on the fillings?

Dr Dan


I am a general dentist and I think it is crazy to present a biased video with the anecdotal opinion of a single person's perceived experience. I mean what else was done for this person, for how long, and by whom? What other changes did she make first? There are way to many other factors that were omitted to reach a single conclusion. This is a very complicated issue and I question if this is the appropriate place for this discussion. Millions of dental amalgams are placed and removed every year without the additional precautions described with no negative reactions reported. I personally have had patients remove all of their amalgams with NO self reported health benefits what so ever. Talk to your dentist about your concerns, but don't be scared into unnecessary dental work.

W. Bullock


I'm appalled that Angie's List would publish such unfounded information. I have silver/mercury amalgam fillings, a mouthful that I've generally had for pretty much 60+ years, with no ill effect. It is my understanding that removing them can cause some exposure to mercury, by the dust of the alloy as it is ground and drilled out. I've had some replaced over the years and have experienced no problem then, either.
Mercury is easily detected in body fluids and I daresay that there is no increase in background mercury levels with those who have silver/mercury amalgam fillings and those who don't. It is certainly possible for one to work themselves into such a state that they become convinced that all their present ills are a result of silver/mercury amalgam fillings but in reality, there is no problem really existing.
Please check your facts; just because someone has an opinion (baseless, as it may be), don't give it more credibility. Yes, the ADA & AMA have to watch what they say since we are such a litigious (law-suit happy) society, but it is proveable that we are not exposed to elevated levels of mercury as a result of amalgam fillings. It can be easily proven in a competent laboratory. Further, this type of filling material has been used since about the late 1890's. The balance of the elements that comprise "amalgam" has been modified some since then and lowered the amount of mercury used.
As an analogy, I've observed many older family members and others who've had amalgam fillings most of their lives with absolutely no ill effects traceable to the fillings.
I do not think that Angie's List is a valid forum for this baseless discussion.

T. Hand


I had all my amalgams taken out about 10 years ago. I don't regret it one bit. At the time, I did have other Dentist that thought I was crazy and being taken for a ride for spending my money on this procedure, because they didn't understand how toxic the amalgams were to my health.



I just has a very informative visit with my dentist last week. When we discussed all these "lovely" silver filling his comments were eye opening. He said the ADA prevents him from telling anyone there is anything wrong with them but his questions is, Well, they are only safe in my office in a jar under glycerin, so why do you think they would be safe in your mouth? Mine are in the process of all being removed one section at a time.



Of course the FDA and ADA will not say amalgam fillings are dangerous - that would open them to lawsuits. And just because the effects are not obvious, no one can say they are totally unaffected. I am 3 months into a detox having had my fillings removed properly and as I have had the fillings 30+ years the detox may take years but its worth it for the improvements I already feel. See what can happen just by getting teeth cleaned.

Jim Fitzpatrick


I just shared my experience of removing my mercury on Facebook. Based on my experience this is not a myth but a definite reality. Mercury is a poison, why would you put it in your MOUTH!!! I had swollen sinuses for YEARS. Had my mercury fillings removed and over a period of a year or more can now breathe full breaths. To me there is NO questoin the mercury removal is the reason.

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