Are amalgam fillings safe? Would you like to be able to go to sleep knowing whether your mouth could be the reason for present or future bad health? Would you like to know if removal of that amalgam filling will be of a health risk or just a removal of your hard earned money from your wallet.
Would you like to know both sides of the controversy regarding dental amalgam and the...are amalgam fillings safe question? There are those defending the fillings, saying yes to the question, are amalgam fillings safe? There are those against amalgam fillings and recommending their removal.
Furthering the question, are amalgam fillings safe? The evidence seems to say not.
Assuming you know what dental amalgam is and that it is made of 50% mercury, it is no wonder that people are concerned about what is filling their teeth.
There is a third part to this are amalgam fillings safe issue. It is a part that is often overlooked in the controversy. The mindless middle is the part where we become so focused on one side or the other and forget the details. Remember there are only two sides to a coin. Opinions have many sides and proof can have many facets.
This middle side to this controversy is not good. Sorry, the mindless middle is a flaw that also needs to be known by those concerned about the mercury in our mouth.
However, there is some science that might be helpful. Science that tells you what your options are. That will be at the end of this series.
First lets look at the amalgam advocates viewpoint. Some come from reputable sources like Consumers Union and US government agencies.
Are amalgam fillings safe? Yes according to this decade old article.
You will find a lot of scientific research quoted here. To be relevant, science usually requires studies be less than five years old. If newer studies question older studies the new body of evidence rules. Well, unless your running the site mentioned here.
Second, any scientific report worth its weight in precious metals let alone your time to read would meet other criteria. You would want independent confirmation. That means you would not use yourself to confirm yourself or several writings from the same people.
And finally, any updates would include the current science that refutes what you say with a commentary why you feel it is flawed.
Well, except for this site....
The site quotes a 1990s Consumer Reports Book on Health Schemes, Scams, and Frauds. The web page is written by the author of the Consumers Report article. The website is called QuacWatch. (It was written May, 2008)
It said that in the view of CU's, dentists who suggest that they are treating health problems by removing amalgam fillings are not putting the patients health and welfare first. They called the diagnosis toxicity from mercury as being false. So in other words, and this is a legal thing, even if you have toxicity, legally you do not according to the article.The article went on to say that dentist who do this are putting their licenses at risk.
He also writes regarding a 60 Minutes program airing on the subject..."...the fact that removal of fillings temporarily raises body mercury load, so that no "overnight cure" could possibly be caused by mercury removal."
Hmmmm, it does not harm you but it does raise the mercury in your body once it is removed. See the study in the next section for more on this. I digress....
Remember the date of the publication. If you go to the site, you will see his entire biography. It is very telling. Look at the dates. Even though his site was updated in 2006 many current findings you will see in the following of this series did not make it into his study.
Court findings are not the basis for scientific proof. They make for great journalism but not proof. They do not answer the question, are amalgam fillings safe?
Peer reviewed articles are the foundation of science, not letters from a Doctor.
Finally, imagine this scenario. A military tech-sergeant tells his staff how to do something. They disagree and say why it will not work. He goes to the book and says that it says right here in the book that this is the way it works.
The soldiers, who are taught to obey, dutifully say that he must be right because the book say so. They neglected to notice that the Sarge wrote the book. That is the power of the written word.
From another perspective, consider what one woman asked me about two days prior to the creation of this page. She got Hepatitis C from a transfusion prior to 1991. She said that she was told it was safe. Well, 17 years later, it turns out they made a mistake.
Finally consider Rezulin or Resulin, the anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory drug that was introduced in the late 1990s and removed in the year 2000. It was safe, so they said when introduced. Ooops, they made a mistake. It is no more.
The question is, will you follow a thinking just because the book says so. Because some so called quack watcher says so? Because the government says so. Does that make it a truth? Are amalgam fillings safe because they say so?
Consider a partial list of research behind the writing. Go to the site for the full list. Note dates of research, where and the repeated names cited as proof.
Mackert JR. Dental amalgam and mercury. Journal of the American Dental Association 122:54-61, 1991.
The mercury in your mouth. Consumer Reports 56:316-319, 1991.
Mackert JR. Factors affecting estimation of dental amalgam exposure from measurements of mercury vapor in levels in intraoral and expired air. Journal of Dental Research 66:1175-1180, 1987.
Mackert JR Jr, Berglund A. Mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings: absorbed dose and the potential for adverse health effects. Critical Review of Oral Biology and Medicine 8:410-436, 1997.
Berglund A. Molin M. Mercury vapor release from dental amalgam in patients with symptoms allegedly caused by amalgam fillings. European Journal of Oral Science 104:56-63, 1996.
Herrstrom P, Hogstedt B. Clinical study of oral galvanism: No evidence of toxic mercury exposure but anxiety disorder an important background factor. Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research 101:232-237, 1993.
Bagedahl-Strindlund M and others. A multidisciplinary clinical study of patients suffering from illness associated with mercury release from dental restorations: Psychiatric aspects. Acta Psychiatr Scandinavia 96:475-482, 1997.
Malt UF and others. Physical and mental problems attributed to dental amalgam fillings: a descriptive study of 99 self-referred patients compared to 272 controls. Psychosomatic Medicine 59:32-41, 1997.
Bailer J and others. Adverse health effects related to mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings: toxicological or psychological causes? Psychological Medicine 31:255-263, 2001.
Benson JS and others. Dental Amalgam: A Scientific Review and Recommended Public Health Strategy for Research, Education and Regulation. Washington, D.C., 1993, US Public Health Service.
ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. Dental amalgam: Update on safety concerns. Journal of the American Dental Association 129:494-501, 1998.
Baratz RS. Personal communication to Stephen Barrett, M.D., December 21, 1999.
Baratz RS. "Serum compatability" testing. Quackwatch, posted Dec 23, 1999.
Baratz RS. Key points about amalgam safety. Modified from testimony to the Florida Board of Dentistry, September 29, 2001.
Molin M and others. Mercury, selenium and glutathione peroxidase before and after amalgam removal in man. Acta Odontologica Scandinavia 48:189-202, 1990.
Barrett S and the editors of Consumer Reports Books. Health Schemes, Scams, and Frauds. Mount Vernon, N.Y.: Consumer Reports Books, 1990.
Connick N. Before the State Board of Dental Examiners, State Board of Colorado.
So, are amalgam fillings safe? Consider the other side of the issue. Then consider the mindless middle. Finally consider an additional solution to the problem.
Dental amalgam toxicity has a possible correlation between dental amalgam, metal toxicity, and CFS symptoms. A study of 83 patients (76 percent) reported long-term health improvement following the removal of dental metal. This effect is believed to be related to a hypersensitive allergic response (Stejskal VD et al 1999).
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