Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on earth. It can cause serious neurological damage and may even be deadly. But for over a century, fillings that were more than 50% mercury were considered the standard of care in dentistry. Mercury from these fillings leaks out and can contaminate the body.
Although these fillings are still considered “safe” by some, Contemporary Dentistry has been a mercury-free practice for more than 30 years, and we offer safe removal for mercury fillings. If you are looking for mercury-free and BPA-free fillings in Rochester, NY, please call (585) 244-3337 or contact us online today for an appointment with a holistic dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.
Toxicity of Mercury
Mercury is a highly toxic element. Although most of the effects impact the nervous system, they can impact many different systems in the body, including the skin, the heart, and the kidneys.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Tingling, itching, burning, or numbness in limbs
- Skin discoloration–excessive redness of cheeks, nose, fingers, and toes
- Shedding or peeling skin
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty speaking or walking
The exact symptoms you experience will depend on the level of mercury exposure both in the short term and the long term. Because mercury can become concentrated in your body over time, toxicity can occur from either an acute dose or long-term, low-level exposure.
Sources of Mercury Exposure
Methylmercury is the most toxic form of mercury, and, unfortunately, it’s one of the most common forms of mercury exposure. Methylmercury exposure comes mostly from eating fish and shellfish.
Environmental pollution contributes to the presence of mercury in the environment, and many bodies of water around Rochester are contaminated with high levels of mercury, so people should avoid eating too many fish from these areas.
People are exposed to elemental mercury through many sources, such as costume jewelry, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and thermometers, as well as dental fillings.
Some illegal skin lighteners contain mercury and can lead to toxic exposure.
Why Mercury Fillings May Be Toxic
Mercury fillings were long considered safe, even after we became aware of the toxicity of mercury itself. It was believed that fillings were safe because the mercury stayed in the fillings and it was only elemental mercury, which is less toxic than methylmercury.
However, we now know that mercury doesn’t stay in the fillings. Mercury evaporates from fillings and is inhaled as a gas. It also seeps through the tooth and can be absorbed as a liquid. We know that people with 8 or more amalgam fillings have 150% as much mercury in their blood as people without fillings. More than a quarter of all Americans have this number of fillings.
We also know that elemental mercury doesn’t stay in that form in the body. It can be transformed by many mechanisms, including gut bacteria, so people with fillings also have more methylmercury in their blood.
Should You Remove Fillings?
The difficult question now becomes: what to do about your mercury fillings? Should you have them removed?
Here are good reasons to consider having your mercury fillings removed:
- You experience symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning
- You have unexplained symptoms that you think might relate to mercury
- You have a high number of fillings (8 or more)
- You are concerned about environmental pollution
Symptoms of mercury poisoning can be difficult to pin down on your own. If you think you might be experiencing some, talk to a doctor or dentist about the risk.
Although much of the mercury from your fillings stays in the body, some of it passes into the environment, either through your ruins or as part of your remains if you’re cremated. This is a significant source of mercury pollution in many parts of the country.
If you do have your mercury removed, you should make sure you get safe mercury removal to avoid contamination of your body and the environment.
To learn more about safe mercury filling removal in Rochester, NY, please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment with a holistic dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.