The Amalgam debate…once again

Posted: December 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

CNN posted a pretty biased article on amalgam yesterday. Top story on CNN.com for a while actually.

Amalgam is safe. Its ugly as crap but it is safe and extremely effective. I use it in my practice but I also use a ton of composites. The two materials are different and both have their advantages. Does amalgam contain mercury? You bet. So do the fluorescent lights that you sit under every day. The biggest threat with the mercury in amalgam exists as the material is undergoing its reaction. The type of mercury in amalgam is only absorbed through the lungs, it is not absorbed through the gut. Since the mercury is absorbed through the lungs only during the reaction guess who is at risk – the dentist!

“But mercury is a dangerous element!” Yes it is. But so are Hydrogen and Oxygen. Get a match near either and watch out. But guess what happens when you take two of those Hydrogens and put them in the presence of one Oxygen. Water fool. Good old fashioned H2O. What do you think the public would do if they found out that water contains the dangerous elements Oxygen and Hydrogen!?! Thats right! We should classify water as a dangerous medical device as well. Or ban its use outright.

I place amalgams every day. That means that I huff elemental mercury vapor all day long. My mercury levels should be through the roof. Well I went and had them checked and guess what? They are far below the lowest level deemed harmful. So the patient with a mouth FULL of amalgams that are already set will see a small spike in their mercury levels (that bring them up to the level I live at) for a few hours after placement. Then they drop back down.

I love all the conspiracy stories though. Heres something to think about though. Composites are more expensive and most are not covered fully by insurance companies. That means they are hugely profitable in private practice. So why arent all the dentists out there saying “Oh yes, amalgam is dangerous. You NEED to have them replaced with composite?” Because it just isnt in the best interest of our patients, thats why. If the FDA puts a ban on amalgam then a lot of dentists are going to get rich replacing them.

 

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