Heavy Metal – Music to Your Ears?

Heavy metal can be music to your ears but not if it is beating the drums of havoc in the realm of human wellness.  Let’s visit a heavy metal called Mercury, the element used commonly and widely as the mixing agent for silver, tin and copper. Amalgam or silver fillings or silver-mercury alloy dental fillings have been used for many years as a restorative material for decayed teeth and continue to enjoy record approval rating by the American Dental Association (ADA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA ). These agencies, along with most Dental schools, are dancing to the merry tunes of the belief that once Mercury binds with the other metals, it is sequestered and is safe ‘in human’ mouths. While, there is huge following of that band, a growing numbers of health experts as well as consumers believe, it is ‘in-human’ to place them in mouths. That’s the ‘alternative’ band, if you will. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have deemed this poison a poison, not just for the purposes of occupational safety but also for the environment. The data available to support both bands is off the charts. The fact is, it all depends on who funds the study and how the data is interpreted. Connecting the dots is as much a subjective art and science, as it is objective.

High Volume Vacuum Hood

High Volume Vacuum Hood

In this noisy concert of conflicting ideas and data, with loud cheering to support both bands, for and against the use of Mercury for tooth restorations, I choose to follow the Scandinavian rhythms.  Sweden, Denmark and Norway have taken the ‘Classical’ lead to ban the use of Silver Mercury alloys for use as dental restorations completely.  A law closer to home woke me up to take action. California State Law requires every dentist to post a 48 font notice, conspicuously visible to consumers in each office that proclaims –  Prop 65 /66 “ Materials known to cause birth defects are used in this dental office”.  They do not direct us to specify the materials on the notice. It turns out, Mercury is one of them.

mercury filling materials used in a typical dental office

Mercury filling materials used in a typical dental office

While everyone has the right to their tastes in music, beliefs and poisons, as a Doctor I have a larger umbrella of moral responsibility, to support. An umbrella that shelters my clients and team from Mercury vapors or any other such toxins, one that further protects the immediate ecosystem.  As a Certified Green Biz, Alameda County mandates installing an Amalgam separator that protects San Francisco Bay and the local waste water recycling plant from Mercury waste from our office.  Left over scraps from the freshly mixed amalgam are not fit for your local garbage dump as per OSHA and EPA. It must be disposed of in a RED container marked “Bio-hazardous waste” and a company is paid to remove and dispose it safely. The safest place for silver mercury amalgams is your mouth.

Mercury Fillings Poisonous

They warned us fair and square!

Arguing about ill-effects of heavy metal toxicity on health is like arguing about God. It’s an argument where no one wins. I’d rather rest my faith on an age old adage ‘when in doubt, don’t’.  Amalgams are just cheap, ugly and unnatural anyway, but what’s uglier is the amalgam of denial, apathy and ignorance.  Everything is toxic depending on the dose, be it love, ego, anger, sunlight or sugar. We are free to pick our poisons.  But, it’s a grave problem when a known poison is promoted as safe for use on kids, pregnant women and populations at large, by government agencies. All of this is going on, when safer, bio-mimetic alternatives are available. All of this is going on at the risk of negative effects on the environment and knowing that it is an occupational hazard.

I can sleep at night knowing we went the extra mile to make our office Mercury safe. We are not just Mercury free, but also guilt free. For the fans of Silver-Mercury fillings, all I have to say is, enjoy your heavy metal, if that’s your thing! For those of you, who are on the fence, please know that you are the conductor of the symphony of your own wellness. How well your health plays out, depends on how well the score you read, is written. When we know better, we do better. Knowing that we have an ‘Alternative’ is music to my ears!

With smiles and a perspective,

Preet

Feedback, comments and questions are most welcome!

14 Comments
  1. Interesting n educative. Like your style and substance. Congrats for making your office mercury free. Vey best. Papa.

    • Thank you, Papa.
      When we know better, we do better. Thanks for instilling the lust for lifelong learning.
      With love and gratitude,
      Preeti

  2. Hi Preet(-Rockstar)!

    Thank you for this great post.
    Heavy Metal is sometimes underestimated. The special is often in the fine details. Often we people are too comfortable to look in depth. We do not listen carefully.

    … we do not listen, what our body is telling us.

    I speak here of a child. It was often in trouble with his parents and siblings. Why? The child has refused dairy eating together. It has therefore been upset. Just when it could not explain the reason for the dislike. The mother cooks a meal with love … … and dairy products … . As explained, the child be the mother such food has a metallic taste. And how terrible is this taste.

    At the age of 21 years, all amalgam fillings are removed at this man. Then he has an important business dinner. And there are also various bread and cheese. Specific cheese. Very specifically.

    And woooww. Suddenly he can without amalgam in the mouth, recognize these subtle different flavors.

    With the changing tastes – that we can recognize. But what about all the other chemical effects. The harmful effects are not so obvious. Heavy metal adds many different undertones in it.

    For me, this means that amalgam does not belong in the mouth.

    In some people, the negative effects are visible.
    Other people suffering for many years and do not know why.

    And this child? – That was me!

    Heavy Metal at the right time can be very pleasing to hear.
    Beware of the many often not directly audible instruments;)

    Michael

    • Thank you, Michael.

      I can truly appreciate the artist in you. For, you can understand the nuances about the complexity of natural dimensions and yet, you can hone into it’s simplicity.

      Taste is definitely an oral domain, as much as listening is the core of healing. I couldn’t agree with you more, both when you were a toddler and now. You are wired with exquisite evolutionary wirings, you are lucky that you are aware of them.

      Most humans have a noisy band of genetic strings, nurtured bass, environmental drumbeats and this synthesizer lifestyle…. The net result is varied, complex and often without melody. No two people emerge with the same score. This is why with diseases like MS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Parkinsons, Fibromyalgia, Autism etc, the causes are multifactorial and it is tough to single out the one single instrument that is going haywire. Everything is contributing to the noise at large. It’s different for different people.

      For a dull subject like silver mercury fillings, there is no silver lining, Amalgams are best left to the historical archives of dentistry. The era of adhesive, minimally invasive, nano particle dentistry is here, the biomimetic esthetics of porcelain is unmatched. This is the golden age of dentistry and I am afraid Mercury has no place in it.

      I value your support greatly, and I value your wisdom even more. You must write something in German next time, although nothing was lost in translation here… : )

      With smiles and gratitude,
      Preet

  3. Hi Preet!
    I love this post, not because it mirrors my thoughts (although it does), but because you lay the facts out, guilt-free, for those who need a little reminder that, just because it’s common practice, doesn’t mean it should be or that it won’t harm you. Thanks for the gentle reminder!

    • Thank you, Rebekah.

      I am always inspired by your innate wisdom. It’s a thing of beauty.
      I wanted to bring attention to this fact that “experts” can be wrong. For decades, nicotine was considered safe and natural. Pregnant women smoked and drank alcohol, and people like Churchill chain smoked without dying of cancer at age 32. The truth is, nature presents itself with a certain complexity. Just because two Caucasian lifelong sun bathers don’t get cancer does not mean others don’t. Some may even have acute photosensitivity or migraines triggered by 10 minutes of sunlight exposure. One size does not fit all. The apathy towards humans that don’t metabolize and eliminate heavy metals efficiently, is appalling. The denial that Dentists could be wrong for all these years is just arrogant. The ignorance about how everything is integrated and connected is rampant.

      We are faced with a grave issue – the scariest modern epidemic is arrogance, and we are paying a very heavy price for it. Mercury toxicity is easy to prevent and treat. But, what will we do about ethical toxicities ?!
      I can’t wait to team up with you, and make a difference, by asking ONE gentle question at a time!

      With smiles and gratitude,
      Preet

  4. Thank you so much Preet, for all that good information. Thank you for your great care, good choices, always putting your patients first. And the great cup of tea you offer me when I go in for a check-up or to bring my Grandkids in. Never thought I’d see the day kids would be excited about going to the Dentist. You’re amazing.

    Thanks so much,
    Bernadette and Robert

    • Thank you, Bernadette.

      The pleasure is entirely ours. I love serving you and your family. Healing is all about love and not really about fear. While we must be cautious about what we put in our bodies or the thoughts we harbor, we must remember how powerful our bodies really are. For instance, given the right nutrition, the mercury that finds its way into our body via seafood, industrial pollution or dental sources, can be effectively eliminated via chelation with an antioxidant called Glutathione. Fresh, organic vegetables help us do just that.

      Food is medicine and without proper natural nutrition, medicine is not really effective. Hope you will further share my blog, I am grateful that our paths crossed, you are a kindred soul.

      With smiles and gratitude,
      Preet

  5. Thanks for posting, this was the most refreshing blog I have read on Mercury fillings…. Although it would be nice to touch upon the how we can get tested and treated for acute or chronic Mercury poisoning. Do you do that ?

    I think it’s great that you make these topics so readable, I will look forward to your next email notification. Great going, Doc!

    In health,
    Sarah

    • Thank you, Sarah.

      Heavy metal is wide subject and I don’t consider myself an expert on this genre. I also don’t like to base healing on fear, like you know. But, just because a person has no symptoms, does not mean their body isn’t fighting an internal battle. For eg, people walk around for years with no symptoms and then they end up in ER with a stroke or a coronary…. Illnesses take years to develop. Prevention also takes years to be effective. Denial is not a effective treatment.

      Mercury toxicity has varied sources –
      1. Environmental pollutants as in industrial waste in atmosphere and food chain via water
      2. Seafood
      3. Dental source

      We refer our clients to a MD who is specially trained as an allergist or Toxicologist. Functional Medicine MD’s are great too. Blood, urine and tissue is tested. Hair may not be the best indicator, it’s probably the one most commonly done.

      DETOX – Glutathione ( an antioxidant ) can help chelate the Mercury out and of course, tons of green veges helps greatly.

      So, to answer your question, in our office we help connect the dots and make the appropriate referrals. It’s illegal to remove old Amalgam for its potential toxicity since ADA and FDA say they are safe. So, we remove them safely, only if recommended by the Treating MD or if they were leaking, decayed or cracking etc, and we use all the necessary precautions.

      Acute Metcury poisoning – is of course very dangerous, an eg is a thermometer or lightbulb containing Mercury shattering. Inhalation, ingestion and absorption via skin are all portals of entry.

      Chronic Mercury poisoning – is accumulative… Like, years of working in dental office, years of eating tuna…

      It’s a huge subject, I learn something new everyday. Please email me if you have further questions and of course, we can continue the dialogue here as well.

      Mercury vapors are colorless, odorless, tasteless. What a metal ! Vapor and liquid forms..depending on the temperature…. “Mercurial” in every sense of the word! Talk to you soon,

      Smiles and gratitude,
      Preet

  6. A very informative post – it is shocking to know that ADA is yielding to lobbyists to continue promoting amalgam filling when governments, organizations and consumers around the world are working hard to limit/eliminate Hg. A very laudatory move – the visitors and the occupants of ‘Smile Matters’ can now be relieved of the fear of Hg poisoning.

    • Thank you, Dr.Das.
      I appreciate the time you take to support my work. In this murky world of opinions, facts and special interests, it’s clear that prevention trumps all treatment. What might help FDA change its position is a good faith blanket release from lawsuits. It’s problem when millions of patients and dental workers may file for damages incurred due to chronic Mercury exposure. It’s a problem worth being in denial for.
      I salute the Scandanavians for taking a prudent approach to phasing this poison out of dentistry. We can learn from them.

      Meanwhile, the reigns of power lie in your hands, in my hands, in every consumers hands. Vote for change with your choices, your local senator, your dollars. Moola talks. : )

      Sending you much gratitude and smiles,
      Preet

  7. Thank you for posting it. We appreciate all your time and effort in researching and finding whats best for us. We know when you do something, its the best for us. Appreciate all you do for your patients.

    Abhay

    • Thank you, Abhay.
      I appreciate your trust and support. I find infinite wisdom in nature, while its clear that man made solutions are often shortsighted, using Mercury as a restorative material is an outdated concept, yet, it enjoys a ton of support. The real power remains with the consumers. It will be hard for insurance companies and healthcare providers to sell you something you don’t want. Wants trump needs.

      Thanks for the shout out!
      Smiles,
      Preet

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