The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Frequently Asked Questions


Amalgams

The following is a thread from the listserv concerning amalgams, their involvement in illness, and their removal:

Deborah:
Someone on another list (for those who have been chemically injured) wrote that it's impossible to get over systemic candida unless one removes one's amalgam fillings (all of mine were healthy teeth drilled by only two dentists who wanted to make more money instead of only a cleaning fee). I have no idea if this is true, but it's a thought for those who, like me, are having horrible symptoms from severe, systemic candida. This person said that even living only on meat for years will not get rid of it if one is still chewing on mercury fillings.

Rachel:
Deborah, I've got to tell you, IMHO, having amalgams removed & replaced is yet another scam designed to separate us from our money. I've worked for dentists for about 25 years total, and before people run out to have this done, based on another pie-in-the-sky promise of restored health, there is much to be considered.

To my understanding, the mercury in old amalgams is dormant, but is re-activated when drilled, so if it's mercury poisoning that worries you, having a dozen old fillings redone, may not be an answer.

Secondly, even the newest composite materials do not stand up to chewing as well as amalgam. 20 years ago when they began using composite for molars, the dentist I worked for, used them on my daughter. Both fillings were replaced within the year because they were sensitive & because slight decay had begun beneath one of them.

Now, 20 years later I am working for a dentist who works almost exclusively in composite (big $), but will use amalgam (1/2 the price) if asked. He does not recommend replacing intact amalgam with composite, for the reason I mentioned earlier. Even now, all these years later, his assistant tells me that sensitivity remains a major issue. There is not as much leakage (decay beneath the filling), but "chewing" on composite material simply does not work as well. A DDS will place a protective base (I'm not sure what's in it), for an additional fee (what else?), but personally I wouldn't spend the thousands it would cost to replace my old amalgams, on the *chance* that there is some truth to what I believe is just more profit-motivated propaganda.

Oh, and any dentist, with an ounce of integrity will tell you that drilling out an old amalgam, especially a large one, always entails the distinct risk of damaging the nerve, and requiring root canal therapy, which is another huge, expensive, can of worms.

Deborah:
I agree with you that's it problematic to remove them, and can cause all sorts of horrible problems, especially with someone who doesn't specialize in this work and take precautions against even more mercury being absorbed. But the mercury in amalgam fillings is certainly not dormant, and one does absorb mercury from them. In my case, it was adding insult to injury to be given amalgam fillings because I have never had a cavity in my life - two dentists drilled massive numbers of holes in healthy teeth. When I realized what had been done and why (money!!), I always got s second opinion when someone told me I had a cavity, and if the second dentist said I had one, it was *in every case* in a different tooth from the one the first dentist had said was decayed. I was told by two dentists (after all that needless trauma/drilling/mercury ingestion) that I am immune to cavities.

Needless to say, I don't think there are many honest dentists, based on my experience.

Rachel
I in no way meant to imply that dentists are honest ;-), only that they may have concocted yet another scam by which to get your money. As cynical as I've become, I'd need an absolute test (geiger counter?) to measure the amount of mercury released by chewing, and that it's substantially higher than the exposure we get from fish and our poluted environment, before I did something as drastic (and it IS drastic) as replacing the amalgam in my teeth with a material that (IMHO) is not yet perfected.

Deborah:
> I in no way meant to imply that dentists
> are honest, only that they may have concocted
> yet another scam by which to get your money.

Yes, I totally understand what you're saying and perhaps you're right, and perhaps those who say that the mercury exposure from amalgams is very harmful are right. Certainly, the way many dentists remove them gets more mercury into the body than would leaving them alone.

> As cynical as I've become, I'd need an absolute
> test (geiger counter?) to measure the amount of
> mercury released by chewing, and that it's substantially
> higher than the exposure we get from fish and our
>poluted environment, before I did something as
> drastic (and it IS drastic) as replacing the
>amalgam in my teeth with a material that (IMHO) is
> not yet perfected.

And that's another problem. In a couple decades we'll be told that the composites are extremely toxic....

Susie:
I had all my silver fillings removed and replaced and it didn't make me any better. I guess noone will ever know if it helped or not. I can't afford anymore hair analysis' and now they say they are NG. I had one which said i was TOXIC w/mercury so thats why i removed the fillings.

Rachel:
How terribly sad. You make my point precisely. Unfortunately, those of us with chronic illness are easily victimized by any snake oil salesman who can make up a sentence with the word "cure" in it, and it becomes difficult to know when the real thing comes along. I had become so disenchanted, so void of hope, by the time I read BTVC that (as Elaine often gleefully reminds me), I was very leery of her book and the simple cure it offered. If you don't mind my asking (dental fees are exorbitant in NY), how much did this exercise in futility, cost you?

Phylisse:
It is my understanding that after the amalgam (silver) fillings are removed, you need to be chelated - a process of removing heavy metals from the body and these days generally used for removing plaque from the arteries. ....a lot of heart patients get it done but it was originally for removing heavy metals. The Chelation Clinic can test you to see what your mercury levels are with a urine test.. My son who had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had a mercury level of 49 (usual levels found in the body are from 1 to 3). He had his fillings replaced (cost $5,000) and was chelated (8 sessions @ $100 each ) and got very much better over the next year.......but it was only A PART of his treatment program............the dentist who replaced the fillings and the Chelation Clinic he used are in Vancouver, B.C. I realise these clinics are few and far between.

Deborah:
Just because one person doesn't improve after having amalgams removed doesn't mean the mercury isn't harmful, and *proper* removal and mercury detox, along with a *good diet*, won't help others. You can remove all sorts of toxins in your body and environment and if you don't also go on a good diet, you will never get well.

Rachel:
You're right, of course. But my point is that there is cost and risk factor, and results are not guarenteed, and these should be carefully measured before proceeding. Removing/replacing amalgam is not like the SCD, which is harmless and healthy. I've seen first-hand, the can of worms that can be opened, in removing an old filling, *even* by competant dentists. Desperation often accompanies chronic illness to the extent that we'll try "anything" to rid ourselves of the pain. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't follow any possible cure, unless we're completely apprised of the full picture and possible consequences.

I'm reminded of the following, which is of course, an absolute worst case scenario. "Mary" (not her real name) was in constant tooth pain. X-rays showed a dying nerve, and a root canal was done. She was fine for a couple of weeks, then came back to say that she was sure it was the next tooth over that was the problem, and she wouldn't be swayed. Another one was done, but still she was in pain. No further physical evidence to explain her pain could be found, so angrily, she went elsewhere. She came back 2 years later with every single tooth in her head, root canalled, *and* in pain. One of the root canals was failing and the choice was an apicoectomy (surgery to extract part of the root) or extraction. I don't want to prolong this awful story, other than to say that when I left the practice, she'd had several apicos, several extractions, varying appliances to treat TMJ, several bridges and was on her way to full dentures, had spent thousands upon thousands of dollars and was *still* in pain. I assure you that she was an intelligent woman, a high school teacher, I believe, but she was driven to her choices by pain.

And BTW, I've known more than one "Mary", to varying degrees, in the 25 years I've worked for dentists.

Susie:
That is what happened to me! I was having allergic reactions in my sinuses from mold allergy and candida and they generated such intense upper maxillary tooth pain that one-by-one the dentists and root-canal specialists and periodontists root-canalled, re-root-canalled, extracted same until I hardly had any chewing teeth left and I was still in the same pain. I almost went the root of Cavitation Surgery as I thought there was a jaw bone infection since blood was coming into my mouth. They put me on antibiotics at the hospital when I was spitting up blood. So I am "another Mary".

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