Here's Your A to Z Guide to Protect Yourself from Start to Finish
Nearly 181 million Americans today have a total of 1.46 billion mercury amalgam fillings in their teeth. These fillings are 50% liquid mercury, blended into a powdered alloy of silver, tin, copper, zinc. As with lead in paint, or asbestos in insulation, mercury amalgam fillings are slowly being recognized as toxic and phased out. The Environmental Protection Agency now requires dentists to treat the byproducts of mercury amalgam fillings as a potential hazard, and comply with new regulations on disposal.
Mercury vapor and mercury particles have been shown to be released from mercury amalgam fillings at higher rates during brushing and cleaning teeth, as well as chewing and bruxism (grinding teeth)., Mercury can corrode inside the tooth. Mercury accumulates in all tissues, and has a particular affinity for the kidney. It can also cross the blood–brain barrier. Studies have shown that the level of mercury in the body correlates with the total number of amalgam surfaces in the mouth.
The good news is that mercury levels in blood and urine have been shown to decrease after amalgam fillings have been removed, and subjective reports of improvement in oral health and general health complaints have been documented. Many developed nations have dramatically reduced the use of dental amalgam. A coalition of fifty environmental, public health, and children's rights groups has called for an end to dental amalgam in all American children, and a two-year phase-out for all Americans.
How High Are Your Mercury Levels: Do You Know If You Are At Risk?
Conventional testing for mercury often involves a single challenge with a chelator such as DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic acid) or DMPS (2,3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate). However, challenge tests can actually cause redistribution of metals and can stress the organs of detoxification, particularly the kidney. Moreover, conventional tests typically look at only one specimen—blood, hair, urine or stool—and may not give a full picture.
A comprehensive test that assesses urine, blood, and hair is likely to give a far more informative picture of an individual's mercury burden.Blood is the initial, transient repository of mercury, while hair and urine demonstrate how efficiently the patient is clearing mercury. A great deal of insight can also be gained by evaluating whether the mercury is in its methyl or inorganic form. Hair, for instance, tends to sequester methylmercury, while urine tends to sequester inorganic mercury. Blood contains both, and within the blood, red blood cells, plasma and lymph can ferry mercury into the cells, brain and tissues.
Due to genetic variation, some individuals clear mercury exceptionally well, while others are very vulnerable to even small amounts of the metal. Tests to deep-dive precisely how your mercury burden is affecting your immune and detoxification systems can be ordered by your doctor. These include highly sensitive and sophisticated allergy Testing via MELISA and ELISA tests; evaluation of glutathione levels, testing for genetic susceptibilities such as variations in a gene called ApoE that may allow accumulation of mercury, and altered urinary porphyrins. In addition, genes involved in methylation may influence the ability to detoxify; testing can be done via 23andMe, and analyzed at Genetic Genie. Finally, a questionnaire from Centerpointe Dental can be used as an assessment tool. The questionnaire was part of a US FDA approved study and can serve as an alert to clinicians when patients have scores of 'yes' to five or more of the questions.
You've Decided to Replace Old Amalgams: What Steps Should You Take?
There are more types of dental fillings available today than ever before, from tooth-friendly composite resins, to glass ionomers, gold, or porcelain-like materials. Your wise choice of an experienced dentist is essential. Proper removal of amalgam fillings is critical, since mercury is known to be released during the placement, replacement, and removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings., The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology has developed detailed guidelines for safe removal of fillings. Their guidelines are backed by research and include dental dams, water irrigation and suction, oxygen delivered via a nasal mask, and many more tips for safety for both dental personnel and patients. Many biological dentists are familiar with these guidelines and a list of practitioners can be found here.
Drilling out an amalgam filling generates a high amount of heat, which in itself leads to a significant increase in the release of mercury, both as a vapor and in tiny particles. A 2011 study found that amalgam removal was associated with a surprising short-term flare of health complaints such as joint and muscle pain, oral ulcers and sore throat, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, chills, rapid heartbeat and more. Even with the best practices for protection, the body will benefit from support in detoxifying and eliminating the mercury and other metals released during drilling.
The International Academy of Medicine and Toxicology suggests that an individual be given a slurry of charcoal, chlorella, or a similar adsorbent to rinse and swallow before the procedure. This is a good start, but a far more sophisticated and targeted protectionary protocol can be used, one that supports detoxification while utilizing highly specialized binders with a strong affinity for mercury.
A Mercury Protection Protocol Based On Universal Principles
Glutathione has been called the mother of all antioxidants and the maestro of the immune system by bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman. Our glutathione "super system", which consists of glutathione along with important enzymes and transport proteins, is capable of binding toxins such as heavy metals and ferrying them safely out of the cells and the body. Glutathione recycles many critical antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E. When glutathione becomes depleted toxins like mercury can build up.
Supporting glutathione levels ahead of the day of amalgam removal helps protect the body. However, the bioavailability of standard oral formulations of glutathione is low, because glutathione tends to be broken down by stomach acids and digestive enzymes, so that very little is absorbed. A liposomal glutathione formulation offers rapid and efficient uptake into the cells. Other phytonutrients and specialized biomolecules can increase our powerful internal antioxidant defenses and help protect our primary organ of detoxification, the liver. This includes botanicals such as milk thistle, with its special affinity for the liver, as well as B complex vitamins, with their ability to support countless metabolic reactions in the body.
A Better Binder
An efficient detoxification system with fully replenished glutathione will escort any metals released during drilling into the GI tract. Once there, it's important to capture these metals with specialized binders, so that they can be safely and permanently eliminated by the body. Common binders include clay, charcoal and chlorella, but these may not be potent enough to intercept and neutralize the extra burden of mercury released by drilling. One effective binder that works in the GI tract is ideal is a purified "thiol-functionalized silica"—which is the mineral silica enhanced by specialized metal-binding molecules. Thiolic metal-binding groups can very tightly bind metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Thiolated resins were used way back in the 1970s to offset a horrific, mass methylmercury poisoning incident in Iraq. At that time, residents in rural Iraq mistakenly consumed grain that had been treated with a methylmercury fungicide. Bentonite clay can add further protection, with its high affinity for other metals in fillings. Vitamin C offers exceptional antioxidant protection during amalgam removal.
The good news is that a protectionary protocol offering all these ingredients has already been assembled by Quicksilver Scientific. Called The MerProtect™ Protocol, it provides comprehensive support for your antioxidant defenses and detoxification, and a high-affinity specialized thiol-functionalized silica to bind mercury released by drilling. The protocol lasts one week, with doses to be taken before, during and subsequent to amalgam removal. Utilizing this protocol can help prevent the occasional worsening of symptoms some people experience after drilling of amalgams, which is likely due to increased exposure after mercury has been released from the tooth.
Purchase the Merprotect Protocol here.