Removing Amalgam Fillings Safely With the “SMART Technique”
Posted On July 24, 2022
Dental amalgam fillings have long been a popular and widely used medium in dentistry. However, the materials used to make amalgam, including the heavy metals mercury and copper, can have a very adverse impact on our health.
Here we will explore what dental amalgam fillings are, why they can have a negative impact on our health, and the best protocol for removing amalgam fillings safely.
What Are Amalgam Dental Fillings?
Often referred to as “silver fillings” or “mercury amalgam fillings,” amalgam dental fillings are fillings that are made of the metals mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Half of the dental amalgam material is made of mercury (Hg), which is a highly toxic heavy metal.
Dental fillings are used to fill cavities from tooth decay and repair damaged teeth.
All aspects of oral health are extremely important for overall health, not only for the health of the mouth, but for the health of the whole body. Our oral health is closely connected to our heart health and our overall systemic inflammatory load as well.
Why Are Amalgam Fillings Hazardous to Our Health?
Amalgam fillings are hazardous to our health because of what they contain – heavy metals.
Heavy metals are metallic chemical elements that have a high density. Heavy metals, especially mercury, are extremely toxic to the human body, as they disrupt the proper function of many body systems and organs including the nervous systems, immune system, endocrine system, digestive system, liver, kidneys, brain, lungs, heart, and more.
Heavy metals can become stored in various organs through the body such as the brain and the liver, further compounding their toxic effects.
Furthermore, our body stores vital nutrients such as iron and fat-soluble vitamins. Heavy metals can displace these nutrients, disallowing them from fulfilling their physiological roles and leading to nutrient deficiencies.
Heavy metals also encourage abnormal gene expression, and can bind to enzymes (proteins that catalyze a wide variety of biochemical reactions and processes) in the body impacting their functioning.
Copper (which makes up approximately 30% of the amalgam material used for fillings) is an interesting metal because it is also a trace element nutrient that the body needs in small amounts. However, and this is a big however, any amount more than this tiny amount will impact the body in a negative way. It is all about balance.
For much more on Copper Toxicity and its far-reaching effects, click here.
Mercury also releases a toxic vapor, which is released any time the amalgam material is stimulated. This can happen from brushing one’s teeth, chewing foods, during professional teeth cleanings, and more.
Clearly, due to the very detrimental impact that heavy metals can have on the body, these elements have no place being used in any kind of healthcare medium, especially not a medium that is found inside the mouth.
Mercury Toxicity: A Serious Consequence of Amalgam Fillings
When the body is exposed to a continuous supply of mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings, Mercury Toxicity can develop.
This form of heavy metal toxicity has many possible symptoms because of the far-reaching impact that heavy metal exposure can have on so many different bodily systems and organs.
Symptoms of Mercury Toxicity can include:
- Chronic fatigue, often severe
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Cognitive decline
- Digestive upset and food sensitivities
- Gut imbalance such as reduced probiotic levels
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Lowered immune function
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in the extremities
- Balance issues and/or lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Low thyroid function
- Shortness of breath and other respiratory symptoms such as chest tightness
- Chest pain
- Cardiovascular imbalances such as rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, and more
- Difficulty conceiving
- Impaired fetal growth and development
- Increased oxidative stress
- Autoimmune conditions
If you currently have dental amalgam fillings in place, it is recommended to have them removed and replaced with a safer material such as composite resin or porcelain.
Composite resin has become the most frequently used alternative medium for fillings due to its cost, durability, and preferred appearance, as it is basically the same color as your natural teeth.
The SMART Technique for Removing Amalgam Fillings Safely
The SMART (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique) technique is a specific protocol developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT) that must be followed for safely removing and replacing dental amalgam fillings. This protocol is designed to protect the patient, dentist, and dentist’s staff from the toxic mercury vapor that is produced when removing the amalgam filling.
While some conventional dentists do follow the SMART technique when performing amalgam replacement procedures, those who are more commonly trained in this methodology are called “biological dentists” or “holistic dentists.” These are dental professionals (either a Doctor of Dental Surgery/DDS or a Doctor of Dental Medicine/DMD) who use an integrative approach in their dental practice.
This refers to utilizing both natural and conventional medicine approaches to treat the Whole Person.
The SMART technique consists of the following:
- The dentist and an accompanying dental professional/s to aid in implementing the procedure
- Oral administration of heavy metal binders such as activated charcoal and chlorella taken by the patient before the procedure
- Protective gowns for all parties, including the patient
- Face and neck protection for the patient
- Nitrile gloves used by all dental professionals
- Face shields used by all dental professionals
- Respiratory grade masks used by all dental professionals
- External air or oxygen delivered to the patient via a nasal mask during the entire procedure
- A dental dam placed and sealed in the patient’s mouth to prevent the ingestion of any parts of the filing while it is being removed
- A saliva ejector is placed under the dental dam
- During the removal of the mercury amalgam filling, an at source oral aerosol vacuum must be used and placed closely to the area being treated to capture vapor released from the disturbed mercury
- The amalgam material is sectioned into large pieces using a small diameter drill and removed in as large of pieces as possible
- Thorough water irrigation of the patient’s mouth during and after the procedure with an evacuation device
- Following the procedure, the patient’s mouth is flushed with a combination of binders such as activated charcoal and chlorella to bind to heavy metals
- Professional air purifiers are used in the room to filter out mercury vapor
- If possible, windows should be opened to future encourage evacuation of contaminated air
- Optimal ventilation of the dental office in general
- An amalgam separator to remove mercury from waste water
Your post-removal treatment protocol will be developed with you and your natural health doctor, as protocols will vary depending on your unique bioindividuality.
In general however, it is recommended to stay on natural binders for a sufficient amount of time. In addition, it is helpful to support bile flow, gut health, and ensure that plenty of antioxidants are being consumed via diet and supplementation.
My Personal Experiences
Early on in my healing journey I became very aware of how detrimental it would be for me to keep the 2 1/2 amalgam fillings that I had in place.
Healing from several severe chronic health conditions would only have been made more challenging with the increased toxic load that these fillings were causing.
I found a wonderful holistic/biological dentist about an hour away from me and set up my plan to have the fillings removed and replaced safely.
This involved an initial consult, exam, and x-rays, followed by a separate appointment for the procedure itself.
He followed the SMART technique in full and the process went smoothly. I had my fillings replaced with a composite resin.
As a note, there is quite a lot going on in and around your nose and mouth area, so if this makes you uncomfortable, I would recommend utilizing a natural anxiety support before your appointment.
My dentist had a television mounted to the ceiling over the procedure chair playing a pleasant nature movie which I loved. I don’t tend to be bothered by dental procedures but it was nice to have something else to focus on.
What is really awesome about most holistic dentists as well is that they will use calming essential oils such as lavender during the procedure to help with potential anxiety so ask your dentist about this or you can bring your own.
Click here to check out my absolute favorite line of therapeutic essential oils. They have lots of blends to choose from, as well as single oils including lavender.
Amalgam filling removal can be costly, yet some dentists are willing to set up a payment plan with you. A lot of holistic dentists will also do their best to offer reasonable costs so it is important to compare costs between dentists you are considering.
I had 2 1/2 fillings removed for $900, which was lower than what some others were quoting.
This was an imperative step in my healing journey, so the cost was well worth it.
As we’ve explored here, the heavy metals that are found in dental amalgam fillings can have a widespread adverse impact on our health.
If you have dental amalgam fillings, it is recommended to have them removed by a biological/holistic dentist who is trained in the safe removal protocol.
Removing this toxic exposure is a huge step for your health and healing.