A few years back, I was enjoying a great life — happily married to my soul mate, pursuing the career of my dreams, and in good health. And then one day my nails started shredding, I had repeat illnesses, fatigue, anxiety, and depression, to name just a few symptoms.
It took me over half a year of intense research to start to figure out what was going wrong. The root cause of illness was heavy metal poisoning. From mercury. But not mercury from eating tuna fish, or from a broken thermometer, or an industrial accident.
I had mercury toxicity from my “silver” amalgam dental fillings and “gold” crowns.
What!?! First, I never even knew that there was mercury or other toxins in those fillings. Second, how could it be possible that my dentist, the caretaker of my oral health, would knowingly put toxic metals into my mouth?
Test Don’t Guess
The new holistic doctor (both western and easter trained) that I chose was well-aware of mercury toxicity and had a decade of experience working with patients in this area.
I asked her if we could order two tests from Doctor’s Data — one measuring heavy metals & minerals from hair, which reflect 3-6 months of metals and minerals in the body, and the other measuring heavy metals in a fecal specimen, which reflect recent metal levels in the body. Both test results established that my body’s mercury levels were high and had been high for some time.
Since I did not really eat seafood, or work in manufacturing, we both agreed that the most logical place to look for the source of mercury in my body was in my mouth.
Note: In addition to the two heavy metals tests, my annual blood serum profile with a Complete Blood Count (CBC) was helpful at diagnosing inflammation and more. Wish I had been able to monitor the excretion of porphyrins in urine as a way to measure the success of treatment (Huggins p.94), but had to prioritize my time and budget.
“But we know that there are two definite ways that mercury comes out of fillings: through electrical current and mercury vapor.” – Dr. Hal Huggins.
Drill, Fill, & Bill! 😦
“Silver-colored” fillings, also called amalgams, were used heavily on my generation and the previous generations to fill cavities. These fillings are actually an amalgam (a mixture) made up mostly of mercury, as well as silver, tin, and sometimes copper or other toxic heavy metals. When that mercury in the fillings mixes with saliva, it becomes methyl mercury that vaporizes into the body, possibly causing gut and cell damage, autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s, and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, MS, or Parkinson’s.
In Dr. Hal Huggin’s book, It’s All In Your Head, he explains that the American Dental Association (ADA) has always known the toxic effect of the mercury and kept this information on the down low — “Today, any dentist who mentions that mercury might be a hazard is liable (under the new dentistry commandment of “ethics”) to lose his license.” (p.15) … “in all states except California.” (p174)
But how could dentists put such toxic substances in our mouths and therefore our bodies? (FYI: Countries like Sweden have banned amalgams.) My former dentist, of almost twenty years, is part of the old school of dentistry who were trained to believe that the mercury in amalgam fillings cannot come out of the tooth and harm the body.
In 2011 my dentist upgraded offices. That year he recommended filling a small new cavity in my mouth. The content of the filling was about 50% mercury, 28% silver, 14% tin and 8% copper. In 2012, he replaced my “silver” onlay (similar to a crown) with a “gold” one. The content was 74.5% gold, 3.5% Palladium, 11.0% silver, 10.45% copper, .5% zinc and .05% Iridium. At the end of that year, my body broke down.
That is when I read Huggins book and learned:
1.”Plain mercury when not combined with anything is poisonous.” “When mercury combines with methyl groups it is called methyl mercury. Methyl mercury is 100 times more toxic than plain, elemental mercury. It is especially toxic to the brain and nerve tissue”(p. 31).
2.”Let a gold crown be placed beside an amalgam filling, though, and all kinds of electrical fury are generated.” (p26) Because “gold” crowns galvanize each “silver” filling and “porcelain” metal-infused crown, Huggins states “Under no circumstances would I now put gold in a mouth that contains amalgam.” (p115)
3. Most gold crowns and some amalgam fillings are made with copper which (p.76-78).
• “reacts adversely with over 90 percent of our populace”
• “emit mercury fifty times faster than conventional amalgams” and
• “Clinically, when a person becomes ill due to high-copper amalgam, it is extremely difficult to correct his or her disturbances…is probably the most deadly.”
Today, most conventional dentists have since switched to using white “porcelain” fillings made with aluminum, mainly for aesthetic purposes and possibly for financial reasons.
Other holistic / environmental dentists, have learned that the amalgams and some porcelain fillings are toxic and have switched to using biologically compatible dental material and safer removal protocols to protect themselves and their patients.
Many of the holistic dentists belong to an organization called International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT.org). The Academy has
“chronicled and promoted the research that has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that dental amalgam is a source of significant mercury exposure, and a hazard to health. It has taken the lead in educating dentists and allied professionals in the methods of safely dealing with amalgam fillings, and safely disposing the waste.”
However, I first learned about mercury poisoning from dental amalgams, while trying to heal my gut, from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. On her FAQ page she discusses dentistry and references dentist Dr. Hal A. Huggins, to understand how to safely remove amalgam fillings.
Both Dr. Natasha and Dr. Huggins books are extremely helpful but dense reads — heavy on the science/biology and not so easy to grasp when you have a lot of mercury on the brain.
In addition, I listened to several podcasts, read through various websites like IAOMT.org, and read another informative technical book by Andrew Cutler called Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities.
The late Dr. Huggins is considered the grandfather of holistic dentistry by many. (There is some controversy over Dr. Huggins. I believe this article explains it well.) From Huggin’s book, It’s All In Your Head, I learned that removing amalgams without the proper equipment is dangerous because the highest amounts of mercury are released and absorbed into the body during the drilling and removal process. In some patients, the careless removal advances potential thyroid auto-immune disorders, like Graves or Hashimoto Thyroiditis, and other severe neurological disorders.
Making sure the biological dentist I chose followed all of the mercury safety removal protocols and had several years of experience doing it was very important to me. My biological dentist is trained by both Huggins and IAOMT and uses a combination approach for removing amalgams. We worked together to make sure she implemented more of Huggin’s protocol than she normally did.
Below are a few noteworthy steps in the Huggin’s protocol:
1. Sequential Amalgam Removal – In short, fillings have both positive and negative electrical charges on them. “If the negative fillings are removed first, the patient’s chances of improvement are good. If the positively charged fillings are removed first, leaving the negative behind, changes for success drop substantially.” (p.114).
2. Seven-Fourteen-Twenty-One-Day Immune Cycle – It is worth reading the explanation in Huggin’s book, but at a high level: “White blood cells, like all cells in your body, live a cyclical existence. Seven, fourteen, and twenty-one days after a challenge, legions of your little defense soldiers are dying off while new, inexperienced recruits are being brought in. During the changing of the guard, there is a time of reduced defense. Herein lies your susceptibility.” (p.119)
3. Complete amalgam removal within 30 days. I called the Huggins Center to find out the why behind this rule. I think the gist is that there is less burden on the immune system. In addition, once all of the mercury is out, I was able to start a full detox protocol. And, as Huggins wrote, many of his patients did not start to feel well until the last bit of amalgam was removed from their teeth. Last, “Usually within twenty-four hours of final amalgam removal, body temperature has moved [1 to 2 degrees] toward 98.6°F.”(p.122)
4. “Even if the procedures are quite short – like 15 minutes – never, never cross the midline during the same appointment. The midline is an imaginary line dividing the head into two halves at a point between the front teeth and between the eyes. Unless, of course, you are utilizing IV conscious sedation. Then you can do things upside down and backwards with no effect on the immune system.” I don’t think this rule was in Huggin’s book but it is on his website.
5. Dental Bio-compatibility Testing. This test measures serum blood against many commonly used dental products and metals. It is one of the most important tests I’ve ever taken and I am thankful I invested in it. There are two companies that offer the test. I chose Biocomp and trust their testing methodology.
Huggin’s also focused his work on the dangers of root canals and cavitations, which can lead to bacterial infections, inflammation throughout the body, and heart attacks. I only briefly explored cleaning up those areas since I had to prioritize getting the mercury out.
The good news is I am mercury-amalgam-free. I’ve eliminated as much radiation exposure in my home and I feel better each day. The bad news is that it takes years to detox, chelate, and heal from mercury poisoning. I am continually working on healing my gut cells, addressing my body’s micronutrient imbalance from heavy metal damage, and eliminating stress and other toxins from my body and environment that wreak havoc on my weakened immune system. But the most challenging of all is chelating mercury out of the brain….
♥ Be Gutsy!