Mercury Safe Dentistry


Mercury/Silver amalgam is a mixture of silver and other trace metals that are mixed with liquid mercury.  It is then placed into a tooth and carved to shape and allowed to harden.  It is still one of the most popular materials to repair teeth used in the world today.  It is easy to use and lasts a reasonable time depending on the patient, how they take care of their teeth, the foods they eat, and the pressure on their teeth when chewing/clenching.  In some countries the use of Mercury/Silver fillings is now banned for use in children and pregnant women.  In some countries it is banned for use for anyone.

I quit doing Mercury/Silver fillings many years ago because I was reading a lot of information about the possible harmful effects of using mercury and the problem created by disposing of unmixed mercury.   Mercury is one of the most toxic chemicals and is a neurotoxin.  I determined that if I would not want this material in my teeth and would not place it in the teeth of my children, they why would I use it on anyone else?  It is a very controversial subject, however I decided to have all the Mercury/Silver fillings removed from my mouth and replaced with porcelain or tooth colored fillings.  I had a lot of Mercury/Silver fillings so I had one fourth of my mouth restored at each visit.  When you numb your mouth for dental work, you typically will numb one fourth of the mouth at a time and so it just makes a lot of sense to do everything in that area at the same time.

I chose tooth colored materials because I wanted my teeth to look natural with no metal showing, but more importantly, I wanted to know that I was improving my health in the long run!

Still today, we have basically five materials that we use to repair and restore teeth.  They are; Mercury/Silver, composite, gold, porcelain and zirconia. We do not use Mercury/Silver fillings in our office.

Your Dentist,
Dr. Debbie Anders

Mercury Safe Dentistry FAQ

Where can I get more information about Mercury Amalgam fillings?
Although there is an abundance of information on the Internet, we recommend the book The Poison in Your Teeth by Tom McGuire, DDS.  He is the best–selling author of Mercury Detoxification and Healthy Teeth-Healthy Body.  We have copies of The Poison in Your Teeth in our office for our patients to borrow.  Next time you are in the office just ask for a copy! If you don’t have an Integrative Medicine Physician, and would like to connect with one, let us know and we can refer you to the right physician for you!
What is a Mercury Safe Dentist?
A Mercury Safe dentist is one who adheres to the guidelines developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology for the safe removal of Silver Mercury fillings.  These guidelines provide protocols to minimize the amount of mercury that could be inhaled or swallowed from the filling being removed, filters the office air to protect the patient and our staff, and disposes of mercury contaminated material in an environmentally safe way. These guidelines or protocols will dramatically reduce your exposure to mercury.
What is the difference between a Mercury Free and a Mercury Safe Dentist?
A Mercury Free Dentist does not place Silver Mercury fillings but does not necessarily use safe removal protocols. A Mercury Safe Dentist does not place silver mercury fillings and uses safe protocols to protect you from exposure to the silver mercury particles and vapor. A Mercury Safe dentist also has specialized equipment, training, experience and skills necessary to protect you from excessive exposure to mercury during amalgam removal. All “silver” fillings are composed of 50% mercury by composition.
My Silver Mercury fillings are over 20 years old. When I replace them what is the material used instead of Silver Mercury?
Most Silver Mercury fillings over 10-15 years old will have some level of failure which causes them to leak and new cavities to grow under the existing filling. After safely removing the old Silver Mercury filling a material called Composite may be used which is safer, bonds to your tooth and is also more esthetically pleasing.

Composite fillings require more skill, experience and time than mercury fillings, plus a curing light is needed to harden these fillings. Every patient is different and your tooth may require more extensive repair after the old filling and any new decay, as well as fractures or cracks are removed. Other options are Crowns or onlays. We will discuss all options prior to your treatment.

What do I do if an old crown that needs to be replaced has a Silver/Mercury (amalgam) filling under it that the xray cannot verify?
We will most likely set up to do Safe Amalgam Removal because it is a complex set up, if we do need to remove any amalgam fillings according to the IAOMT protocol. We can remove the crown first and be prepared to safely remove any amalgam that may be present under it. There is only a fee for the removal if the tooth has a silver/mercury filling present.
What Are my Options for Crown Materials if I am Trying to Avoid Metals?
Crowns with metal can have materials you are allergic to. However; the lab we use does not use toxic metals. If you are allergic to particular jewelry or metals, we can request materials that do not contain those particular metals. Porcelain/ceramic crowns are very strong, and can be used if you are trying to avoid having any metal in your mouth. Most crowns with metal under them will appear black at the gum line as your gum recedes over time. But be careful, cavities can also cause blackness to appear at the gums. Anytime porcelain or ceramic is used to make a crown, it can chip or break. However, it is typically stronger than natural tooth structure or fillings that may be in the teeth opposite the tooth with a crown. The cosmetic advantage you gain can compromise the longevity of the restoration. The best option for longevity is a full gold crown, but that will not look as natural.

We are always happy to go over all available options for your treatment if you have any questions. To schedule an appointment, please call 828.699.8781 or visit

What Will you do if I am Highly Sensitive to Many Materials and Products?
If you have sensitivities, or are trying to avoid metals, the best place to start is with a Biocompatibility Test. It is a simple blood test that can be performed at a testing lab. Some people are highly sensitive to porcelain or zirconia, which are common crown materials. We can provide the test to take to your lab or Integrative Medicine Physician. Once the test results have been sent to us, we will schedule an appointment to evaluate the results and decide which materials are best for your particular treatment plan. Special materials may need to be ordered for you. We may also need the materials that have been used in the past by your previous dentists.