“Silver” Amalgam Fillings Release Mercury, & Some Things Make them Release More Mercury Faster

One video has likely done more than any other to raise awareness of the health risks posed by dental amalgam, the material used to make “silver” amalgam fillings that are actually about 50% mercury, a potent neurotoxin:

For many, it’s surprising to learn that mercury is released from these fillings with every bite, toothbrush stroke, exposure to heat, or other stimulation. What’s more, there are other factors that can actually increase or accelerate the release of this toxic metal.

One 2017 study, for instance, found that more mercury is released from modern high copper amalgams than older alloys with a lower copper content.

Firstly, when subjected to wear/polishing, droplets rich in mercury are formed on the surface, showing that mercury is not being strongly bonded to the base or alloy metals. Secondly, high copper amalgams emit substantially larger amounts of mercury vapor than the low copper amalgams used before the 1970s. High copper amalgams [have] been developed with focus on mechanical strength and corrosion resistance, but [have] been sub-optimized in other aspects, resulting in increased instability and higher emission of mercury vapor.

In fact, the release of mercury from these fillings is 10 times greater than the release from low copper amalgams. Ten. Times.

Other research has suggested that other stressors may also increase mercury release, and that’s the focus of a systematic review that was published earlier this summer in the Journal of Biomedical Physics & Engineering. Its authors considered studies on both mercury release and microleakage from amalgam, and after searching three major databases of scientific literature, they found 13 studies that met their criteria for inclusion.

Analysis revealed that four stressors in particular can significantly increase mercury release or cause microleakage:

  • Static magnetic fields, such as those produced during MRI.
  • Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), such as those emitted by mobile phones.
  • Ionizing electromagnetic radiation, such as that used to take x-rays.
  • Non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, such as that emitted by lasers.

Clearly, these exposures aren’t rare events. EMFs in particular aren’t even avoidable anymore, giving yet one more reason to avoid having amalgam placed in your mouth or have any existing amalgams removed safely (following the SMART protocol) and replaced with biocompatible alternatives.

If the latter isn’t an option for you right now, one thing you can do is limit your exposure to these sources as much as you can and invest in protective devices that can help neutralize their effects. This article gives a decent overview of some of the options available.

You may also find it quite helpful to consult with a biological dentist or integrative physician to discuss the safest options for minimizing the amount of mercury that harbors in your body’s tissues even while you still have amalgams in your mouth. Gentle, ongoing detox that’s supervised by a knowledgeable doctor may at least minimize the bioaccumulation of mercury in your body.

PS: This week is Mercury-Free Dentistry Awareness Week, an annual observance to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of the kind of dentistry we do and to inspire people to join the fight for a mercury-free future. To get involved, visit Consumers for Dental Choice and learn about all of the ways you can help.

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