Mercury Free vs Mercury Safe


by Dr. Kevin Flood, Grand Rapids

I have recently been asked this question several times last month: “What’s the difference between a mercury free dentist and a mercury safe dentist?”

There is a huge difference. The recent  peer reviewed scientific literature has begun to turn out research that  verifies that dental amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury by weight, are really not good for the human body. Not only is the dental amalgam not good for humans but it is really an terrible environmental hazard that could easily be eliminated. The World Health Organization has declared that exposure to dental fillings is the major source of mercury exposure to humans: not fish as many people believe.

The press often cites fish as the major source of human exposure to mercury but research has proven otherwise.

A study conducted by the Canadian Center for Health several years ago identified dentists as the major source of  environmental mercury.

They estimated that for every pound of mercury released into the environment by dentists would require one million dollars to remove.

Yes I am mercury free– I do not have any dental amalgam filling material in my office and it has been over 28 years since I have used it as a filling material for my patients.

There has been a recent rush by dentists to advertise that they are mercury free.

This is a great step forward for the environment . For the patient this is where the difference between mercury free and mercury safe makes all the difference in the world.

As a mercury free and mercury safe dentist I take extreme precautions to prevent mercury recontamination during the removal process.

During the entire process the patient is breathing medical oxygen through a nose piece to prevent the mercury vapor from being inhaled and reabsorbed into your body. Sitting right above your chest is a mercury vapor vacuum system designed specifically to gather up any mercury vapor associated with the removal process. A rubber dam is used. This might be best thought of as a tarp you would use when you were painting. This dam fits over your mouth with only the tooth we are working on exposed. This prevents any amalgam chunks or dust from entering your oral cavity.

An ionizer is also utilized which will prevent the mercury vapor from floating around. It will add ions to the mercury vapor making it a heavy molecule which will fall to the floor. Mercury vapor is absorbed by the human body at a rate of 80%. It is easily absorbed by the body. You are better off swallowing a big chunk of amalgam filling than breathing the mercury vapor. The mercury swallowed in an amalgam particle is absorbed at a rate less than 40%.

Mercury safe should be an important consideration to you if you are considering  removing your mercury fillings.



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