Thursday, 11 October 2012

At Long Last The EU Will Ban Mercury Fillings

In the 50s and 60s dentists filled the teeth of children with dental amalgam, the black/silver fillings which contain anywhere from 49 to 54 per cent mercury.  Mercury fillings were first introduced 160 years ago when gold was the only other material available to fill dental cavities.

Toxic mercury vapours from these fillings are released into the oral cavity every time food is chewed or hot drinks consumed.

A single dental amalgam filling releases up to 15 micrograms of mercury per day and is the primary source of mercury exposure.  That is over six times the amount anyone would get from eating mercury contaminated seafood.

For years it's been known mercury is a well known neurotoxin but dentists in the UK continue to use it, even when Scandinavian countries and Germany have forbidden its use in dentistry.

I've a mouth full of mercury fillings and pay private health insurance for my dental care, yet my dentist insists removing the fillings and replacing them with the modern, more expensive white filling is unnecessary.  It wasn't until recently I discovered that not all dentists are trained in removing mercury fillings and I think that may be the reason mine is reluctant.  The procedures taken by trained dentists when removing these filling is sufficient evidence of the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings.

When I questioned a retired dental surgeon friend yesterday - who uses the same dentist as me - about the continued use long after the dangers were discovered, his answer was, "Money. Amalgam fillings are cheap and the dentistry section of the NHS would have collapsed if a ban had been imposed earlier."

He went on to explain the mercury problem was why so many dental practitioners began to recommend their patients use private health insurance which would entitle them to better quality fillings. I asked him if he had decided to have his own amalgam fillings replaced and he said in recent years he has had a few replaced because the originals cracked, but although he would recommend younger generations give serious thought to replacements, being in his mid-70s was a little late to undergo such invasive treatment.

The EU has been debating the dangers of mercury for years and now it seems it intends to ban amalgam fillings.  At long last.  Regardless of the financial cost, Britain should have stopped using this toxic form of dentistry years ago when the evidence became indisputable.


dognamedblue said...

I'm from that generation
where dentists gave you amalgam fillings whether you needed them or not
because they were paid to do so
regardless, their greed was more important
I had 8 fillings, yet my other teeth never need any work
I've tried to get my dentist to see the information that is freely available but he refuse, as you said, because he's not qualified
although I had a mercury filling that cracked recently & he surprisingly gave in to my requests not to use mercury to replace it
I've taken papers from the council of europe on banning them into his office & I've argued to the point of confrontation with him, but I know he will never admit to being ignorant of the truth

dognamedblue said...

oh & the worst thing is I'm allergic to metals
if my belt buckle rubs skin I get scabs, I can't wear jewelry or get scabs
I've always suffered from headaches which I have always insisted are because my mouth is full of metal but I'm laughed at by the dentist, I even claim that baldness, which doesn't run in the family & ageing skin are down to them
would love to have them all replaced

JRB said...

For once the EU has done something worthy of our praise.

Now, if the would only ban all dentists.

… for, unwittingly you have touched upon my Achilles heel, my only real phobia, my absolute terror – all things dental.
For, like so many, as a child I had my mouth stuffed full of mercury fillings – might explain why I am as mad as a hatter.

I could go on, but just thinking about dentists and dental work is bringing me out in a cold sweat.

Edward Spalton said...

I can see that it's a good thing to replace mercury now that better things are available - and usually very much quicker for the dentist to use. The curing time of modern fillings is remarkably short.

Things can only be toxic if they are absorbed by the body and to be absorbed, they have to go into solution. I wonder how quickly the mercury in fillings becomes soluble over time. I have some mercury amalgam fillings which have lasted an awfully long time!

And we should no forget that the medical authorities allowed a soluble mercury-based preservative to be used in the MMR vaccine which was injected into babies.

So, like Corporal Jones - Don't panic!

Sobers said...

I had all my mercury fillings removed and replaced with modern ones about 5 years ago (due to childhood spent drinking Ribena, I have lots of fillings!). About 1 year after I did it I my mood improved dramatically (I had always had depressive tendencies). I've been much happier with my lot ever since.

Coincidence? Most probably. Who knows? But I really can't think that having a mouth full of toxic metal is a good idea as a general principle.

Joe Public said...

So, Mercury in dental fillings is dangerous, so the EU bans them. But, implements new legislation that insists that low energy light bulbs containing that harmful element be virtually mandatory.

Someone's had a logic bypass.

subrosa said...

I think there are many dentists like yours dognamedblue - including mine.

Because I pay into a private dental scheme I should think I could push for them to be replaced, however who would do it because he more or less refuses.

Dentists are few and far between here in the sticks.

subrosa said...

Oh JRB, I never thought you would be a dentaphobe.

My godfather was my first dentist and therefore most experiences were reasonable - except the gassings which I hated.

I can remember my dad bringing me home on a tram after one particularly bad gassing. Horrible recollection, so I sympathise a little with you.

subrosa said...

Too late to panic Edward.

Isn't mercury involved in some flu vaccines too?

subrosa said...

Good for you Sobers. Was it a lengthy process?

subrosa said...

Ah Joe, I was going to mention that in the post but knew some intelligent reader would mention it.

banned said...

Wot Sobers said, cost about £3k about 7 years ago and since when my problems with alcohol have been much reduced; coincidece? Dunno.

subrosa said...

I don't know about coincidence banned but I know having poison in your body can't be good.

Did it take long and was it a palaver?

banned said...

SR, it took about 12 months but that was largely determined by my private budget rather than cinical need.
Palavar? no the coffee was great and so was the after sales service.

subrosa said...

Interesting banned. I think I'll suggest to the younger members of the family that they should at least research this.

Sobers said...

I can't remember how much it cost exactly, I do remember it was a good few visits to the chair. Took a couple of months from start to finish. I'd hazard a guess it was £3-4K-ish, as I had a fair few to be done. I'm fortunate that was something I could easily afford, and it was worth every penny in my view.

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