Millions of Americans have mercury in their teeth, and they don’t even know it. However, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology is working to change that by educating dental patients and dentists about the health risks associated with silver-colored fillings (often called “amalgams”), all of which contain approximately 50% mercury.
The World Health Organization has established that adverse health effects from mercury can include tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during fetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood.
“Mercury is toxic, and its use in all silver-colored dental fillings has been linked to risks for Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, infertility, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and many other adverse health conditions. Viable alternatives to these fillings have existed for decades,” Dr. Tammy DeGregorio, President of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), recently explained.
To assist in getting its urgent health message about the dangers of mercury fillings out to the public, the IAOMT is currently featured on one of the most famous jumbotron billboards in Times Square, New York City.
The IAOMT, a non-profit group, has been collecting scientific research about the potential hazards of dental mercury since 1984. More recently, the IAOMT published a Position Paper against Dental Amalgam that contains over 900 citations about this pertinent issue. Researchers affiliated with the IAOMT also had work published last year that includes a table of over 50 known variables that can impact an individual’s response to dental mercury.
Recognizing that millions of silver/amalgam fillings are removed each year due to device failure, consumer preference, and other reasons, the IAOMT also recently released its updated recommendations known as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART). SMART was specifically developed to assist in mitigating the potential negative outcomes of mercury exposure to dental patients, dentists, dental professionals, dental students, dental staff members, and the environment.
To assist dentists in learning about these new measures and how to apply them in their daily practices, the IAOMT designed an educational course for dentists. “SMART Certification” from IAOMT signifies to patients, professionals, and the community that a dentist has received educational training in the IAOMT’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART).
Consumer demand for dentists who apply the most updated safety measures was a major catalyst for the development of the SMART program. So, the IAOMT also created a campaign called “The SMART Choice” that explains what the SMART protocol is, why it’s important, and how patients can find dentists who have completed training in SMART. The grassroots campaign encourages open communication between patients and dentists about the procedure for safe mercury amalgam filling removal.
Amanda Just, MS: Ms. Just is the Program Director of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxiciology. She is also a freelance writer and dental consumer who has shared her writings about the impact of dental mercury amalgam fillings with the United Nations Environment Programme, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and various NGOs.
John Kall, DMD: Dr. Kall serves as the Chairman of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxiocology’s Board of Directors. He is a member of the American Dental Association, a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), Past President of the KY Chapter of the AGD, a member of the Louisville Dental Society, and a member of the Kentucky Dental Association.
By Amanda Just and John Kall, DMD
Source: Natural Blaze