This week marks the 7th annual Mercury Awareness Week, a joint campaign by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice to highlight the problem of dental mercury, the promise of mercury-free dentistry, and how you can help in the fight for a mercury-free future.
Our office has been providing mercury-free dentistry in the Glendale/Los Angeles area for over 30 years, and practicing mercury-free dentistry is just a part of it. Educating our patients and the general public is central. The more people understand about the mouth-body connection and their options for dental treatment when needed, the more they can make informed decisions about their health – like the decision to choose biocompatible restorations over so-called “silver” amalgam fillings.
In fact, choosing a mercury-free dentist could be one of the most important choices you make.
But it’s not enough that an office is mercury-free. It needs to be mercury-safe, as well. The difference? Here’s how Dr. Tom McGuire puts it:
Strictly speaking, the term “Mercury Free” refers to dentists who do not put amalgam silver fillings in their patients’ teeth. This term was first used over 40 years ago by dentists who wanted to distinguish themselves from other dentists who believed that mercury amalgams were safe and continued to use them.
However, the term Mercury Free wasn’t a truly accurate description because even dentists who didn’t put in amalgam fillings still had to remove them – and the unsafe removal process released excessive and unnecessary amounts of toxic mercury vapor. But while being Mercury Free was a good beginning – it solved only part of the problem.
Over time, dentists who were Mercury Free developed protocols and equipment that allowed them to dramatically minimize a patient’s exposure to mercury during the amalgam removal process.
There are now a few standard protocols for the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings, such as this from the IAOMT and this from the IABDM. These include the basic steps that should be taken to protect the health of the patient, the dental team, and the environment.
A mercury-safe dentist will also never polish amalgam fillings, as that, too, releases dangerous amounts of mercury vapor, as does brushing.
For more on mercury-free, mercury-safe dentistry – including amalgam removal and how we do things here in our Glendale office – check out our FAQ. And to learn even more about mercury, check out our resources area. You’ll find much more info here on our blog, as well.