Dentistry, dogma and mercury

February 24, 2012

Dental, Philosophical

Seldom a day passes that I do not interview a client who is concerned about mercury fillings.

by Dr. Nicholas Meyer — 

Seldom a day passes that I do not interview a client who is concerned about mercury fillings. Often the patient has been to a practitioner who, when questioned about mercury fillings, rolled his eyes and launched into tirades about the virtues of the silver mercury filling, and how completely safe they are.

He made derisive comments about why anyone would subject himself to replacing them. In the next breath, the dentist informed the patient that many doctors are making a lot of extra money performing this sort of procedure — replacing so-called toxic fillings.

The traditional dogma espoused by the dental profession has been that mercury fillings are completely safe and that mercury does not escape from the mixed “amalgam” (consisting of approximately 50 percent mercury). Yet science has shown this is not accurate.

The claims are that only a small percentage of people have allergic responses to the fillings. In this country alone, however, that small percentage adds up to millions of people. And what about those who do not show the classic symptoms of mercury toxicity? They are left bandied about amongst the health care professions, while trying to regain their health.

Dogma, the term used earlier, is attributed to religion, which is the central belief of a group of people. Beliefs are not based in fact or science. The scientific articles on mercury and heavy-metal toxicity do not reveal themselves in the pages of the Journal of the American Dental Association but rather in various publications from the toxicology community or the experimental biology community.

The arguments on both sides of the mercury aisle always remind me of the tragic conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland. Rather than being focused on the grace of God, battles are waged over whose way to worship God is correct. Similarly, rather than saying what is in the best health interests of the patients, dental professionals take spurious aim with questionable arguments in deference to long-held, cherished beliefs.


Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., D.N.M., is a general dentist in Scottsdale, Ariz., who has a special interest in developmental disturbances of the facial complex that contribute to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. 480-948-0560, or

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 3, June/July 2011.

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