Orillia: (705) 325-1765   Barrie: (705) 739-6725

The Mercury Myth™

toothDr. Adam Tan DMD FAGD AIAOMT, helps his patients with holistic denistry for whole body health. His dental practice is mercury free and mercury safe – that is to say, no materials containing mercury are used in restorations for his patients. For patients who have mercury fillings, he is able to replace them with long lasting 3D printed ceramic restorations that will outlast the original restorations.

Are Mercury Fillings safe?

Silver Fillings, (also known as Silver Amalgams, or more accurately named as Mercury Fillings) are still taught in dental schools as the lowest cost and the most robust material to be used in the majority of patients to restore dental cavities.

Are they completely safe? Far from it!

ALL Mercury Fillings contain at LEAST 50-54% mercury (Hg) thereby making Hg the largest component ingredient. As far as consumers are concerned, these products have been seriously mislabeled to make you think they’re made up of mostly silver. However, the remaining ingredients, including silver, make up a diminishingly smaller percentage of the whole. Silver comprises of just 1/4 of the ingredients in Mercury Amalgams. There are cases (CDC: acute and chronic mercury exposure case studies) in the United States of an individual who smelted Mercury Amalgam in his basement to recover silver but with unfortunate devastating health effects to everyone in his home.  The myth is that the Hg contained in Mercury Fillings are inert and is not released during chewing. Simple demonstrations of mercury vapor release with UV back-lighting, and measurements with sensitive mercury detecting instrumentation have proven otherwise.


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Why is mercury still being used?

Back in the early 1900s, asbestos was used as  insulation in the roof and walls of buildings. While short term exposure did not cause the immediate mortality to those who were exposed to asbestos, the long term effects of asbestos finally took its toll on individuals who were exposed to it. Dr. Tan see the same issues of occurring with mercury because the toxic level exposure symptoms are nonspecific (see the list of symptoms later), making mercury toxicity very difficult for physicians to diagnose based of symptomatic assessment alone. (more on mercury exposure testing later) Damage caused by bioaccumulation of mercury in the body’s organ system is cumulative over time and dependent on a multitude of  factors, including a individuals predisposition to genetic sensitivity detoxification abilities against mercury.

For chronic exposure to mercury,  eventual illness symptoms brought on by toxic levels of chronic  mercury exposure often times becomes disassociated from the cause. Think of a flywheel being wound up. Eventually, there is so much momentum that no additional force is required to keep the flywheel spinning, and just tiny amounts of additional force application is required to make the flywheel to continue to spin or spin even faster. In the same way, the damage caused by mercury exposure is cumulative in nature. As long as the source of mercury is still present, the momentum will continue to increase for the intensity of mercury toxic symptoms. The onset for that moment in time can occur so far into the future that the results is often time disassociated from the cause. Practitioners who seem the manifestation of toxic symptoms speak of a tipping point where upon the body’s ability to detoxify is overwhelmed by the amount of toxic buildup. The stage of which the patient lies along this spectrum leading to the tipping point is difficult to determine, but there are several susceptibility test available to help with this.

As an aside, its interesting to think that mercury was  incorporated into the paint of some of those surgical theaters, in IV infusions for syphylitic treatments and diuretics (Vogl 1950). Mercury was also incorporated in antiseptics such as Mercurochrome. Newer formulations of Mercurochrome do not contain mercury and linked by just brand alone. Mercury formulations such as those have been banned by the FDA since 1998.

In one simple word: “cost”.

Of all the dental materials available today, mercury amalgam’s immediate cost to the patient is (incorrectly perceived) as the  lowest cost available material. When stacked against the possibility of the detrimental health cascade of tooth loss -> loss of function -> malnutrition -> illness, Mercury Fillings might seem like the likely preferred choice. However, the LONG term cost, taking into account the patients health, environmental impact and the repercussions to future generations, the use of mercury in dental fillings or any mercury containing consumer product for that matter is THE most expensive material available. As a neurotoxin and a hazardous material second only to plutonium, mercury should be avoided at all cost.

Isn’t Mercury mostly from eating fish?

It depends. If you have a diet exclusively of tuna fish sandwiches then you belong in a high exposure risk category. However, inorganic mercury found in Mercury Amalgams are far more toxic, about ten times (10 x) than organic mercury from fish. Inorganic mercury released from Mercury Amalgams are lipid soluble and will cross mucosal tissues of the nose, organic latex dental dam barriers, and the blood brain barrier very quickly. Once in the body, the inorganic form of mercury is methylated into the organic form which is not lipid soluble. Essentially, bio-accumulating in the brain, liver and kidneys.

What does reference dose or reference exposure level (REL) mean?

In simple terms, Reference Dose or Reference Exposure Level (REL) is  the exposure concentration that has been determined to be ‘safe’.

If there is a reference dose, what is my safe exposure level?

Depending on the governing body, here’s what they say:

EPA:  Environmental Protection Agency reference exposure level (REL) is 0.3 μg/m3

OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set limits of 0.1 milligram (mg) of organic mercury per cubic meter (m3) of workplace air (0.1 mg/m3) and 0.05 mg/m3 of metallic mercury vapor for 8-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks.

OEHHA: Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Goverment of Canada)

Mercury (7439-97-6) & inorganic mercury compounds



Nervous system; development



Nervous system; development; kidney




Inhalation & Oral: Nervous system; development; kidney

REL types: A = acute, 8 = 8-hour, C = chronic. Exposure averaging time for acute RELs is 1 hour.  For 8-hour RELs, the exposure averaging time is 8 hours, which may be repeated.  Chronic RELs are designed to address continuous exposures for up to a lifetime: the exposure metric used is the annual average exposure.

[1]REL developed using the revised methodology (OEHHA, 2008), μg/m3

[2]REL developed using the revised methodology (OEHHA, 2008), Oral REL (μg/kg Body Weight – day)

Mercury exposure levels for pregnancy REL is 0.01mg/m3 (Canadian Family Physician)

Read about the serious consequences of acute and chronic mercury exposure case studies here(CDC)

According to Dr. Mark Richardson PhD reports in a Canadian Dental Association investigation, there is mercury release from all mercury filings but he provided guidelines in terms of number of fillings and age/gender.

How Do I Know If I am at risk?

Mercury Risk

What Are The Symptoms

Organic methylmercury toxicity and inorganic mercury toxicity show different pathologic effects. Organic methylmercury toxicity causes prominent neuronal loss and gliosis in the calcarine and parietal cortices and cerebellar folia, as seen in cases of classic Minamata disease.

Inorganic mercury causes cerebral infarctions, as well as systemic features, such as pneumonia, renal cortical necrosis, and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. A more diffuse, direct neuronal toxicity may also exist with organic mercury, as the brain weights of patients with Minamata disease are substantially lower than those of controls.

Nevertheless, both types of exposure may blur. In monkey models of methylmercury intoxication, demethylation resulted in inorganic mercury deposition in brain cells (Medscape)

How do I know if I have Mercury Fillings?

Simply take a look in the mirror and focus on your teeth; especially from the canines and back. Mercury Fillings are very seldom used on incisors or front teeth. Dark black fillings on your molars are most likely Mercury Fillings. If you have a copy of your dental X-rays – those dark fillings you saw in the mirror should correspond to the x-rays as stark white areas in the premolar and molar areas. The lighter whiter areas on the teeth are indicating a high density material will most likely be Mercury Fillings – please consult with your dentist.

How do I find out my Mercury Levels?

Two most common test are obtainable in Canada. mercury levels blood test can be requisitioned at a physicians office and can be administered at most labs. What’s more,  this test is covered by OHIP. There’s another test protocol that will include a challenge test for urine and hair samples.

It is important to know the relevance of each test, which one will indicate your true tissue level mercury toxicity levels and which test will only indicate your acute exposure or occupational exposure levels to mercury vapour.

Depending on your occupational exposure, you might want to get all of the aforementioned tests done.

Another way would be to count the Mercury Fillings in your mouth – there is a mathematical formula that uses the number of teeth in with Mercury Fillings  to very accurately determine your Mercury exposure.

Other factors to consider are your sensitivity to heavy metals – please consult a physician who is trained in this.

Who Administers These Tests?

A trained physician or qualified Naturopathic Doctors are frequently the professionals we use for test requisition and most labs will do the blood draw for the test. however, there are only a handful of labs that will actually perform the analysis of the samples. Most of the patient whom we see at Georgian Dental® are often individuals who have occupational exposure to multiple toxins such as adhesives or other heavy metals.

I Want My Mercury Fillings Replaced – What Do I Do?

This is absolutely critical – ensure that dental professional performing the removal of your mercury amalgams uses the MercuryRescue™ protocols, similar or better. This is particularly important If you test high on mercury exposure or are exhibiting any symptoms consistent with heavy metal toxicity. Without testing and proper removal protocols in place, your end results are a roll of the dice. Take a look Journalist Stacy Case’s experience with multiple mercury removals recommended by her dentist performed without MercuryRescue™ protocols, similar or better, and her journey in the documentary Evidence of Harm. At this time, dentist in Ontario will be out of their scope of practice if they diagnose “Mercury Toxicity”.

Why isn’t anyone saying something about this?

Glad you asked! here’s a link to amazon for the book containing a chapter titled The Mercury Controversy which i authored:

Disclosure: Links through Amazon Associates to the book co-authored by Dr. Adam Tan DMD FAGD AIAOMT

What’s my next step?

Connect with a professional who is familiar with diagnosing mercury toxicity. This includes a trained physician familiar with integrative medicine, trained Naturopathic Doctors and Naturopathic nutritionists. Effective diagnosis, treatment and cure for mercury toxicity is a multidisciplinary, team effort. While there is a TON of information on the internet, start with by consulting with a professional who is a member of the Canadian Society of Aging and Metabolic Medicine (CSAMM), or a doctor with the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (AIAOMT).

What About Detoxifying Myself?

Definitely don’t make matters worse by experimenting on yourself without guidance or research. Heavy metal detoxification is a process that is a very fine balance, and you will get the best results by having your detoxification guided by a trained professional. Consider this: detoxification while your mouth still contains Mercury Fillings is like running a marathon on a treadmill, you’re expending a ton of energy but you will not get anywhere. Stay away from chelating agents if you do not know the proper dosing protocol as those agents will draw out bioaccumulated toxins, but only to redistribute again if not cleared away quickly enough. Further, infusions, pills and nutrition are also not the only options available; there are drug-free ways to accomplish the goal. You will get better results if your body is primed for MercuryRescue™. Qualified professionals will also be able to guide your nutritional plan and supplement intake to optimize the ongoing recovery with a strategy that best suits your individual diagnosis, present medical condition and health tolerance. Having said that, there are a few well researched and published detoxification protocols that I can recommend, neither is ‘perfect’ because of the broad nature of their designs but still a very good start for informational purposes.

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Georgian Dental® delivers holistic dentistry for whole body health in an environment that upholds high-quality care with your foremost care and comfort in mind, using proven 3D dental printing technology. If you need further assistance with MercuryRescue™ and connecting with resources within your community for safe mercury removal, call Georgian Dental® Orillia to connect with the dentist in Barrie, Ontario at (705)739-6725 or Georgian Dental® Orillia to reach the dentist in Orillia, Ontario at (705)325-1765.