The argument over whether mercury in silver dental fillings is dangerous has spilled over into the courts.

Anita Vazquez Tibau always considered herself healthy. A dance major in college, she was fit and rarely sick. But in her early 20s, while vacationing with her husband, she suffered the first of many asthma attacks that would plague her over the next 20 years.

“Simply staying alive became a major ordeal,” says Tibau, 42, of Newport Beach, Calif. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t do anything. I was using my inhaler like every half hour.”

Other health problems followed.

Then last year a blood test showed she was highly reactive to mercury. After doing some research, Tibau decided to have the fillings in her teeth — all 13 of them — removed, believing the mercury in them had made her ill.

Over the next several months her breathing “improved dramatically,” she says. Now more than a year later, she no longer uses any asthma medications and reports an improvement in her energy level and attention span.

What’s Really in Your Mouth?

According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, up to 76% of dentists use silver fillings when filling a cavity. The ADA also says that the substance that makes up silver fillings, known as dental amalgam, has been used safely for 150 years.

But some research has suggested the fillings may cause health problems that range from chronic fatigue-like symptoms to neurological problems, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The ADA insists once the filling is placed in the tooth, exposure to mercury is minimal, and that numerous studies have failed to find a link between silver fillings and any medical disorder. They do acknowledge, however, that a small subset of people — fewer than 100 reported cases — have an allergy to the metal component in the fillings and will have a reaction.

But the anti-mercury camp says the ADA has no proof to back up their claims that mercury is harmless. They also point to the fact that amalgam has never even been tested for safety by the FDA, having been instead ”grandfathered” in because it had been in use for so many years and was assumed to be safe.

Dr. Greg Spielmann of Total Health Dentistry in Nichols Hills OK is one of the few Oklahoma SMART-certified dentists. His practice is completely metal-free, holistic, and he adheres to a strict protocol in the safe removal of mercury fillings according to the IAOMT guidelines. 

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