The dental amalgam is a lasting obturation material, non physiognomic, plastic when placed in the cavity, not adherent and becomes rigid after setting.
It is the result of a mixture of mercury (Hg) and a powder (alloy) containing one or more metals.
Depending on the number of metals composing the alloy can be:
Binary = Hg + Cu
The ternary Ag + Sn + = Hg
Quaternary = Hg + Ag + Sn + Cu
Dental amalgam is a metallic material used in dentistry for over 150 years to treat cavities. It was very popular, having the advantage of a low cost, so low that almost everyone had at least one dental amalgam fillings. In some dental surgeries, are still doing such treatments and amalgam still receives praises … Is this material as innocuous as one would think?
Dental amalgam is a combination of unstable mercury (50%) and other toxic metals such as copper, silver etc. Because mercury at room temperature is a gas, it vaporizes continuously from the mixture of amalgam, resulting high levels of mercury in the air from the mouth and saliva (can be easily measured).
In 1990, the World Health Organization issued a document stating that restorations (fillings) with amalgam are the most important source of mercury poisoning from the body. It is considered that the daily dose absorbed by the body from these fillings is 3.8 to 21 micrograms per day, amount that depends on the number and size of fillings, the friction’s degree in the mastication process, the high temperatures of hot foods and drinks, electrical currents created when two different metals are placed in contact (a crown of gold and amalgam). Galvanic currents created through metallic joins pumps the mercury in the soft structures of the mouth (gums, mucosa etc.), from where it is transported systematically into the bloodstream, and from there throughout the body. In addition, the electromagnetic fields (monitors, computers, etc.) increase oral galvanism and, therefore, exposure to mercury and other metals.
A recent study showed that after 10 minutes of chewing gum, the concentration of mercury in the mouth ambient increases 5-7 times and remains high for 90 minutes.
US Public Health Service (US Public Health) conducted and published in 1994 a study regarding the risk of the mercury’s toxicological profile. In this document it is estimated that the minimum risk of exposure to mercury vapor for the population is 0.2-0.4 micrograms per day, much lower than the value of the daily absorption of dental amalgam fillings.
The negative effects of mercury on the human body
Mercury is highly toxic, even when exposure is at its low concentrations. The effects on the body depends on many factors, such as immune response, detoxification and excretion ability, metals dose etc.
Mercury reaches through the bloodstream the brain, where it accumulates in significant quantities; damages nerve cells and is involved in the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
* It accumulates in the glands, heart, kidney and liver proportionally with the number of fillings each person has in his/her mouth.
* It is cytotoxic, neurotoxic and immunotoxic.
* Disturbs the smooth functioning of the metabolism generating toxic metabolites.
* It causes autoimmune diseases, such as oral lichen planus, fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes etc.
* Thousands of medical studies have shown the mechanisms by which mercury (and other metals) participate in the initiation of over 40 chronic diseases, including the neurological, hormonal, autoimmune, cardiovascular, reproductive system.
* Mercury crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus, to which can cause developmental defects.
* Numerous general conditions have improved or cured after amalgam fillings were replaced: periodontal disease (periodontitis), oral keratoses, allergies, asthma, lupus, sinusitis, migraines / chronic headaches, epilepsy, arthritis, Crohn’s infertility disease , depression, autism, schizophrenia, insomnia, anxiety, susceptibility to various infections, antibiotic-resistant infections, endometriosis, tachycardia, cancer, eye problems, eczema, psoriasis, urinary problems, prostate, Candida, etc.
* The negative effect on the reproductive system is manifested by decreased sperm count, their defects and lower testosterone levels by men; menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriage by women.
Consequences of mercury poisoning on human embryo
Epidemiological studies show that the human embryo is easily damaged by exposure to low doses of mercury originating from the mother’s amalgam fillings, but also from other external sources (fish, for example). Because it produces chemical imbalances in the brain, mercury poisoning is incriminated as the trigger of autism, its incidence is much higher by children whose mothers had amalgam restorations during pregnancy, and are vaccinated for Rh negative (this vaccine contains mercury).
Exposure to mercury drops the child’s IQ and ability to learn easily, also can cause mental retardation and congenital hearing impairments; deposits of this metal were found in the fetal system glands (pituitary, thyroid, hypothalamus), interfering with their proper functioning. It seems that the highest concentrations of mercury can be found in the pituitary gland after birth, causing problems in systems development: glandular, immune and reproductive (pituitary gland controls the activity of these systems).
The fetus is affected by exposure to much lower levels of metals than adults. Concentrations of mercury in breast milk and baby’s structures are much higher than in the mother’s body due to low weight associated with a high rate of gastrointestinal absorption and low renal excretion. Poisoning from the pregnancy period continues after birth through breastfeeding if the mother does not know the danger and do not remove sources of toxic metals.
Solutions to avoid mercury poisoning
The natural question is: what do we do to avoid these problems? First, to refuse any proposed dental treatment involving the use of dental amalgam. There are still many doctors who use this material and do not know the problems they can cause in time. It is good to know that in the tooth the amalgam fillings is not properly sealing the cavity in which is inserted, leaves a microscopic space between it and the walls, where microbes and food infiltrate, creating the premises for the appearance of the secondary caries. In addition, unsightly mercury ions migrate through dentinal tubules and give the tooth a grey-metallic color.
Secondly, if we amalgam fillings, replace them quickly. There are more biocompatible materials that do not contain metals such as composites, ceramics, glass ionomers, zirconium. Beware, though, at how these fillings are removed because an improper workmanship will produce spraying the filling into small particles that the patient can swallow or breathe in, and thus metal poisoning reaches a maximum peak.
Attention future mums! If you decided to have a baby or you are pregnant, do not forget these aspects that can not be neglected!
In conclusion, in a world where pollution sources are so numerous, it is good to be health conscious and to take the experts’ warning. Heavy metal poisoning can have serious consequences for the health of ourselves and our children’s.