Part 1 of this 2-part series (“The Tooth of the Matter”) appeared in the Winter 2010
Beeyoutiful Catalog and emphasized the importance of nutrition in dental health.
“Your old filling cracked, and new decay is under it,” the dentist informed me matter-of-factly. “I have time to fix it right now.”
Five minutes later, with numbing shot in effect, he casually drilled out an aging silver amalgam filling from the back molar which had been bothering me for awhile. Over the sound of the drill, I heard him tell the hygienist, “It’s very close to the pulp. If this doesn’t work, she’ll need a root canal.”
A few weeks later, my tooth still hurt, and it was slowly getting worse. By then, my research gene had kicked into high gear. I knew Weston A. Price, the dentist whose educational foundation teaches the dietary principles of nutrient-dense and properly-prepared foods, had lost a son to a root canal gone bad.
Dr. Price’s information led me to other dental experts who similarly warned about the dangers of root canals. All concluded that the only safe way to handle a dead tooth is removal. Apparently, there is no way to sterilize all side chambers of the three miles of tubules inside a tooth. Antibiotics can’t do it. Bleach can’t do it. Even lasers can’t assure adequate cleansing. In one of Dr. Prices’ experiments, he implanted into 100 rabbits the root canal fragments from a person who had suffered a heart attack, and within a few weeks, every rabbit also experienced cardiac arrest!
Modern DNA research offers additional evidence against this common dental procedure by demonstrating bacterial contamination in 100% of the tested samples of extracted root canals. Bacteria that remain after a root canal mutate once circulation through the tooth (by removal of the pulp) is cut off, and the resulting strain is many times more toxic than otherwise. These bacteria can migrate into gum tissue and from there into the rest of the body, causing autoimmune or life-threatening degenerative diseases, even decades after a root canal is performed.
Pulling for a Better Solution
My smile finally looked decent after two stints with braces, so I was not anxious to introduce a gap by having a tooth pulled. But I didn’t want to have long-term health problems, either.
Hoping for a prettier option, I called several endodontists (root canal specialists) to find out how they sterilized the tooth after removing the dead pulp. They all told me I was misled by an old theory and that thousands of root canals are performed safely every day (60 million per year is the current count). I wanted to believe them, but I didn’t feel peace about it. Meanwhile, my tooth was turning dark.
While many dentists advertise their work as “mercury-free,” their emphasis on dental cosmetics made me worry their worldview was not as radical as mine—especially when a few calls confirmed that they recommend root canals. That’s when I stumbled upon www.drwolfe.com/links.html, a collection of websites for holistic dental associations and member practitioners. On this score, I also wished we lived in California again rather than Tennessee, since the Golden State seems to have holistic dentists in every city. Our closest one, Dr. Ada Frazier, is an hour and half away in Alabama, but my long-term well-being and her services were worth the drive.
Dr. Frazier was trained by Dr. Hal Huggins, a long-time outspoken opponent of mercury amalgams and root canals and author of a newly published article titled “Root Canal Dangers: DNA Studies Confirm Dr. Weston Price’s Century-Old Findings.” You can read it online at www.WestonAPrice.org.
Even though “any dentist” can pull a tooth, by going to Dr. Frazier, I was assured of not only avoiding pressure to have a root canal, but I was also confident the tooth extraction would include an important, if non-traditional, procedure called a cavitation. Cavitation involves grinding off the periodontal ligament which holds the tooth in its socket. Although most dentists and endodontists are taught to leave the ligament in place after an extraction, the remnant tissue provides an incubator for hostile bacteria. This bacteria can produce the same damage to the cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems as those from a root canal. Dr. Huggins compares omitting this procedure to “delivering a baby and leaving the placenta in the uterus.”
After the deed was done, Dr. Frazier instructed me to swish gently with peroxide and saltwater and to supplement with vitamin C to prevent infection. Fortunately, the hole does not show when I smile, but if the gap were obvious, instead of a tooth implant—which also contains harmful metals—I would consider getting a bridge made from biocompatible materials.
The More, the Mercurier
Neither my visits to the holistic dentist nor my education about the benefits of going to one had yet run their course. I had a few other leaky fillings with decay underneath. Although this news worried our bank account, it excited me, because now I had an excuse to switch out a few of those “silver” (mercury-based) fillings.
A wall in Dr. Frazier’s office displays a poster delineating the body-wide negative effects of mercury—the substance delivered to dental offices, packaged as “hazardous material” and then daily put into thousands of trusting patients’ mouths. Filling material is amalgamized (mixed) either in a combination of 50% mercury and 35% silver plus a bit of tin and copper or as a “copper amalgam” of 66% mercury and 33% copper.
Copper amalgams are highly unstable, releasing fifty times more mercury into the body than even the older combination. Hardly a coincidence, when copper amalgams were first introduced in 1975, the incidence of Lou Gehrig’s Disease and multiple sclerosis jumped dramatically the first year and has grown exponentially since.
Friction from chewing and brushing and heat from hot liquids and foods cause these mercury-based fillings to release harmful vapors, which spread throughout the body via the respiratory system, accumulating mostly in the brain, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. There they destroy good bacteria and encourage Candida growth.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology provides a disturbing YouTube video showing the vapors emitted by these fillings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ylnQ-T7oiA&feature=related.
Scientists report degenerative changes in the brain within a few days after exposure to mercury vapors. Severe headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, depression, hair loss, memory loss, and even coma can be caused by mercury toxicity. A fascinating bit of history illustrates the point. In the 1800s, hat makers working in poorly ventilated shops breathed in fumes from a mercury solution used to turn fur into felt and became known for their mental and emotional instability. That’s where the saying “mad as a hatter” originated.
Mercury binds to sulfur-containing enzymes, suffocating cells and causing chronic allergic and immune reactions. Kidney and lung damage shows up within months of exposure.
Then there is the phenomenon of “dental galvanism.” When two or more dissimilar metals are used to restore or replace missing teeth, they produce an electric current. This electrification causes the rate of mercury corrosion to increase 10 to 20 times. Many people—including those with metal fillings—worry about the mercury content of nutrient-rich ocean fish, but to put this in perspective: Every day, their fillings give off up to nine times the mercury they might ingest from eating fish!
Detach and De-Tox
Dr. Frazier explained to me the safety protocol for amalgam removal as she and her assistant donned gas masks, protective eyewear, and hair caps. The highest mercury content fillings go first, and when several fillings need to be replaced, removal should take place over several visits so as not to overwhelm the body’s detoxing system.
A special rubber “dam” was placed in my mouth to prevent particles from going down my throat during the procedure. I also wore protective eyewear and was cautioned to breath only through the oxygen mask over my nose. A venting tube much like a clothes dryer hose was drawn close to my mouth while air ionizers whirred nearby. The hygenist maintained a continuous stream of cool water to lessen the vapor-releasing heat of drilling friction, while she held a small vacuum right at the tooth site.
After the procedure, Dr. Frazier encouraged me to drink lots of water, to take extra vitamin C, and to do toxin-removing “oil pulling”—swishing sesame, sunflower, or coconut oil in the mouth for 15 minutes and spitting it out. Dr. Frazier and her assistant, who encounter mercury daily, de-tox themselves routinely, including spending time in a far-infrared sauna. This is a far cry from the casual way the first dentist removed my old filling. No wonder infertility and other health problems are worse for dental hygenists!
If you suspect symptoms of heavy metal toxicity or even after a cleaning or any dental work, you can do a lot of chelation (pronounced “kee-lay-shun”) on your own. Chelation uses natural substances to attract heavy metal particles and pull them out of the body. Beeyoutiful offers an array of excellent supplements that can help:
In the process, be sure to drink lots of pure water and keep your bowels empty, because a majority of the toxins are eliminated in the bathroom.
Following a nutrient-dense, properly prepared diet as described in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and taking healthy supplements will help prevent problems in the first place, as we discussed in part 1 of this series. If you still have health issues, though, the idea of removing fillings can be emotionally and financially daunting. To help reduce the financial pain, you might consider saving up to have one filling done at a time (it’s healthier this way, too). And put yourself on a chelation regime.
If you ask most traditional dentists about root canal and mercury concerns, they will scowl and say something about contrarian “quacks.” Taking action, though, is important because the vapor cloud from mercury fillings has no silver lining.
Nancy Webster is a freelance writer and homeschool mother of eight. After enduring multiple tooth extractions, two sets of braces, and a dozen fillings through the years, she is a highly motivated researcher on alternative dental practices. Nancy is also the founder and facilitator of the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.