Are Your Teeth Toxic?
The mercury in 'silver' fillings would be hazardous waste in a river...
A professional musician from Arlington Heights suffers from mysterious rashes and lip blisters. A dental hygienist in Hoffman Estates battles migraines. And a social worker in Prospect Heights is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
All three tried treating their ailments using a controversial method: by having dentists remove and replace their so-called "silver" amalgam tooth fillings, which contain about 50 percent mercury. And all three swear they experienced life-changing health improvements.
Their personal testimonies are part of what makes dental amalgam, the silver lining for hundreds of millions of American mouths, one of the most divisive issues in dentistry.
Though it's one of the oldest materials in oral health care--used by people of all ages for the last 150 years--anti-mercury groups are pushing the startling message that mercury residing in the mouth can leach into the body and cause illness.
"I thought my career was over," said Arlington Heights' Matt Comerford, now a trumpet player with the Lyric Opera who was suffering from painful sores along his gums. He began investigating the metals in his mouth and eventually had nine silver fillings replaced with a mercury-free alter-native material.
"Within a week [of having the amalgams replaced], everything healed," Comerford said.
Rothchild, a mercury-free dentist, said he doesn't push people into having silver fillings removed.
"I never promise any medical cures because you can't," he said. Instead, he presents both sides of the issue on his Web site and provides patient referrals. "If people come in asking about amalgams, I'll tell them," he said. "If they're there for basic dentistry, I don't say anything."
Linda Brocato of Prospect Heights, IL, went to several dentists before she made the difficult decision to have her 16 silver fillings removed. Her problems began in 1980, when she looked in the mirror one morning and noticed her right eye was drooping. Seven years and dozens of health issues later, the former social worker was crippled, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
It wasn't until Brocato heard about the Minneapolis-based group Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome (DAMS), however, that she began to believe she had mercury poisoning.
Two weeks after she had her last amalgams replaced, Brocato said her slurred speech began to disappear and her strength and balance improved. She knows the symptoms of MS come and go, which could explain her improved health, but she is convinced that removing the silver fillings made a big difference.
"I have five pages of improvements," said Brocato, 56, who is still in a wheelchair but no longer takes medication for MS. She is now one of the Illinois coordinators for DAMS. "I don't know how people can say there isn't evidence."
For more information visit Philosophy On Mercury Amalgam
John A. Rothchild, DDS, FAGD, MAGD, DAAPM, NMD, IMD