Do you have any silver cavity fillings? If so, it’s likely to be made of mercury, which has dangerous health implications. Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry, outlines what people should do to remove their mercury fillings and discusses safer alternatives. Listen or read more to find out the truth about mercury fillings.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, and author of the bestselling book, “Age With Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living”. Today, our topic is mercury fillings. Welcome Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John.
John: So, Dr. Nammy, what is the difference between amalgam and composite fillings?
Dr. Nammy: So, John, the amalgam fillings are those silver metal mercury fillings and the composite are the tooth colored fillings or the porcelain fillings. They look just like a tooth and you won’t even notice that they’re present in your mouth.
John: Okay. So, if I have any fillings that are in my teeth and they look like they’re that darker like silver kind of color, those are very likely to be mercury fillings.
Dangers of Mercury Toxicity
Dr. Nammy: Yes, they definitely have mercury in it and I would recommend that you have it removed as soon as possible. Because something that I wouldn’t want in my body and I wouldn’t want you to have it because it is linked to so many different issues, because mercury toxicity is a huge problem. People end up having neurological disorders, people end up having Alzheimer’s. People have a lot of issues that can be easily avoided if the metal mercury fillings are removed so that the mercury is not going into your body.
John: So, you said that it can be dangerous to have the mercury fillings removed, but of course you’re recommending that people do remove them. So, what is it that you’re doing to make removing them safe?
Dr. Nammy: So, the thing that we do is when we remove the mercury fillings, they’re removed using the SMART protocol. And that protocol is the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique. And the way that the mercury is removed, is it’s not toxic to your system and it actually minimizes the amount of vapor that is released because it’s actually the mercury vapor. The whole filling itself isn’t a problem when it’s sitting in your mouth. It’s when you are having a hot cup of tea or if you’re chewing and grinding, that’s when the mercury vapor is released and that vapor gets absorbed into your body and causes a lot of issues.
So, what I usually recommend is get it removed, but get it removed by somebody who is SMART certified, meaning that they know how to remove mercury safely to protect you and to protect themselves.
Post-Mercury Removal Health Concerns
John: Are there any concerns that I need to have after my mercury fillings are removed or am I just totally safe after that?
Dr. Nammy: What I usually suggest with mercury is it really has a big difference because your genetics are huge. If your ancestors had a lot of fish or a heavy fish diet, you’re more likely to have more mercury in your system than somebody else. And, also, it depends on your diet. If you have a lot of fish in your diet, you’re probably going to have more mercury in your system.
So what I usually recommend is to have your naturopath doctor look at your metal and mercury because those two things can be very toxic, and it’s the number one reason why people have a lowered immune response or their immune system is not as functional as it should be — which leaves you prone to a lot of different diseases and also puts a huge stress on your body that it spends it’s time defending itself in fighting off bacteria and fighting off disease instead of aging gracefully and healing and making sure it’s taking care of itself and its daily functions.
John: So, if I already have some mercury in my system, maybe because of these mercury amalgam fillings, how can I remove that mercury from my system?
Dr. Nammy: The best way to do it is . . . charcoal is a great adjunct. And then also with the naturopath, there’s a regimen that can be utilized in order to do that. There’s also chemicals that can be put in IV and it’s called Chelation. So, a Chelation process actually pulls out all the mercury and the metal that is in your body or in your bloodstream. So that way it gets secreted out of your body instantaneously because it is through an IV line.
Better Than Mercury: Types of Safe Fillings
John: And are composite fillings the only type of fillings that are being used these days?
Dr. Nammy: Well, there’s other fillings called porcelain fillings as well, and there’s different types of composite fillings. So even with composite fillings, it’s really important to pick out the right composite to make sure that it doesn’t have any bisphenol in it. Because bisphenol is a cancer-causing agent. The other thing you want to make sure is that the composite does not mess up the hormones because some of the composite by products when you chew and grind, which are released, which actually ended up causing or mimicking a lot of the hormones, causing a lot of hormonal imbalance for women and children.
So, it’s really important to make sure that you’re looking at the type of composite that’s been utilized. If the fillings are in between a crown, there’s something that we call a porcelain filling. They are great because they’re stronger than a composite because a composite is plastic.
The porcelain works really great because it lasts a lot longer. However, you do have to remove a certain amount of tooth structure to be able to put the porcelain in the mouth. So, my train of thought is, the first thing I’ll do is I try to do the smallest filling I possibly can in the mouth. So, I start with that. And that usually is a plastic composite filling. And like I said, they’re BPA-free and they do not mimic hormones.
I start with that first. If there is a huge decay and I do have to remove more than two millimeters of tooth structure, then I go to something called an in-lay. So that means it’s a filling, but it’s made out of porcelain.
Now if the cavity is bigger than that, I go to something called in on-lay, which means that it’s going to cover the chewing surfaces of the teeth. And my last resort is really a crown. These are all made out of porcelain. They’re great. They do last a long time. They resist bacteria. The only negative thing is removal of tooth structure. And that’s why I try to protect the teeth as much as I can.
John: Because in order to put that type of crown on, you actually have to wear out the outside of the tooth in order to put the crown over it. And so, the more that you can avoid having to chip away at somebody’s teeth, the better.
Dr. Nammy: So, what I usually recommend is less is more. In the analogy that I always like to tell patients is that dentistry is like a house remodel project. In the kitchen there is those grout lines that connect the granite together or the tiles together. It’s very aesthetic. It’s really beautiful when we put it in, but over time they’re settling. And also, they wear away because these are synthetic products. It’s not as natural as our teeth or a natural product like an original granite with no seams in it is very different than when you put two pieces together.
So, when we’re doing a filling or a crown, it’s always going to have a joint where it’s going to be a natural tooth structure, meaning a synthetic material, and that’s where the bacteria actually get in. Just like the grout lines in the kitchen, wear away. The bacteria get in at those areas and end up causing decay.
John: All right. Well, that’s all great advice, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 578-9347.
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.