When I was young I was sent off to the ‘Murder House’. A malevolent dental nurse would proceed to drill holes in my teeth and fill them with shiny ‘silver’ fillings. It was painful, but not as painful as we made out. On Monday I went to the dentist again and managed to get my wallet thoroughly ransacked as I had four very old ‘silver’ fillings removed and replaced with new composite fillings.

It is important to note that gold fillings are called gold fillings because they are, well, made of gold. That’s pretty straight forward and honest. Calling amalgam fillings ‘silver’ fillings is deceptive; they are in fact 50% mercury. The silver content is actually only approx. 22% which begs the question as to why they are not called ‘Mercury fillings’. The first use of mercury fillings is usually stated as around 1833 in the USA, but it was then banned and considered malpractice. It was then ‘un-banned’ by the American Dental Association in 1859 and they have defended its safety profile against all comers ever since.

I would strongly recommend watching this video, which demonstrates how ‘silver’ fillings leak substantial amounts of mercury constantly and how this increases with any amount of stimulation. It also confirms that the predominant source of human exposure to mercury comes from fillings:

What is Mercury?

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. It is a potent neurotoxin; it can build up in your kidneys and brain. It can reach unborn babies, it can affect the endocrine system which is the system of glands and some organs that controls many of life’s processes. It is the most toxic of all the heavy metals. The reported effects of mercury poisoning include all sorts of neurological conditions – depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, autoimmune diseases, cancer…. some researchers state links to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well. Studies of dentists have demonstrated higher levels of mercury than found in the general population corresponding to increased rates of neurological conditions.

Mercury is used in fillings to bind the metals together (silver, tin and other metals). The American Dental Association told the world for a 100 years that the mercury stayed fixed in the filling, but we have known for a long time now that mercury does leech out. There are differing estimates for the amount of mercury vapour ‘off gassing’ from the fillings, and there are contributing factors that accelerate the process such as grinding of teeth (which often happens when we sleep), certain drinks as well as physical processes such as brushing of teeth. It is fair to say the amounts leeching out are small, but it is a continuous process and the debate is about what the true safe levels really are and what the real affects will be over an entire lifespan.

Why you were probably not told that your fillings were half mercury

I have never been told by any dentist that the ‘silver’ fillings being deposited in my mouth were actually mercury based. This is one of the things that annoys me the most, the complete arrogance of the medical profession – and I include dentistry here as well. We have the right to make informed decisions about what we take, whether it’s pharmaceutical drugs or dental fillings. In the USA the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has always sided with the ADA (American Dental Association) and ruled dentists do not have to inform patients that the ‘silver’ fillings they are about to get are actually 50% mercury. The FDA virtually always rules on the side of big business, once a procedure or drug is on the market (often in the case of pharmaceutical drugs – by the use of fraudulent studies) the bar for ‘evidence of harm’ required before removal is significantly raised. In the case of mercury fillings, they were never actually proved to be safe by a series of studies before introduction to the market in the first place. Mercury fillings predate the formation of the FDA – and even the American Civil War.

In 2009 The FDA’s own science advisory group recommended Mercury fillings not be given to children under 6 or pregnant women, and that everyone be informed that mercury is the main component in Amalgam fillings. The FDA ignored this advice, the scientists on the panel said:

‘There is no place for mercury in children’ – Dr Kotagal
‘Definitely not in pregnant women and definitely not in children under 6’ – Dr Thompson
‘Children less than six years of age, I would restrict it considerably’ – Dr Ismail
‘Why put amalgams in children if we know they’re going to live with that for the rest of their lives? And we don’t know what that’s going to do’ – Dr Burbacher

These are pretty telling statements from medical professionals on the FDA’s own advisory panel, and their advice was completely ignored in the interest of profit.

Why do dentists still use Mercury?

One of the arguments given is that they are durable, but recent composites (the new tooth coloured fillings) probably last just as long. The mercury fillings are certainly easier for dentists to apply (and therefore faster) this no doubt equates to greater throughput of patients and therefore profit. Conversely, composite ‘white’ fillings are built up in layers, and each layer needs to set before the next one is applied.

What countries still use mercury fillings?

Mercury fillings are still used in much of the world including New Zealand. They have been banned or allowed for only limited use in Sweden, Austria, Canada, Germany and Denmark.


Putting mercury in your mouth amounts to 1830’s weird science. Mercury in fillings may actually date to Chinese use in approximately 600 AD. We know mercury is extremely toxic and we have better options. This debate just illustrates how much influence the profit motive has in pretty much everything to do with health. It is very hard to get things off the market once they are there. Waiting for further studies demonstrating evidence of harm seems absolutely senseless to me.

The list of diseases linked to mercury poisoning above probably looks familiar; there are many things in our lifestyle that have been linked to similar lists. Mercury fillings pose a health risk, they have not been proven safe, there is a valid debate and many questions needing to be answered. In light of this, especially considering the safer alternatives it just doesn’t make sense to continue with this ancient technology. There may be slight risks with newer alternatives as well, but it’s about relative risk and there are not many more toxic substances you can put in your mouth than mercury.

On that note, it would be remiss of me not to mention the mercury –fish oil debate. Mercury is a known issue with many commodity fish oils on the market, and, if you will forgive the blowing of our own trumpet, it’s one of the main reasons we used concentrated Omega-3 oil in Lester’s Oil. The concentration process removes mercury, and the amounts in Lester’s Oil (according to our latest lab tests at the Cawthron Institute) show that any mercury (if present) is below detection limits.

If you have mercury fillings and want them removed, its an expensive process so cost will be a consideration. You need to pick a dentist who knows how to remove them safely, they use a rubber sheet to stop the waste being swallowed and a high powered suction pump to clear vapours and any dust from the old fillings. There are many cases of people with chronic conditions reporting improvements in their health, and published studies in this area as well. At the very least, don’t add more mercury fillings, insist on newer technology – and shop around.

Daniel King, MSc (hons)


  1. Lloyd Derbyshire Reply

    I seem to remember that Lady Di had her amalgam fillings replaced for health reasons some time before she made a bad choice and was a passenger in a car driven by a drunk.

    Take note and always breathalyse your drivers from now on Daniel.

  2. Annette Wood Reply

    Very interested in reading your article on Mercury in fillings. I have always believed my mercury fillings (which I had a number) were definitely affecting my health. I have an auto immune condition called Sjogrens. Because this causes a very dry mouth which intern caused my teeth to decay, despite meticulous care and many thousand dollars being spent, I ended up having to have all my teeth removed. Although this was not ideal I have noticed a significant difference in my dry mouth and other affects of Sjogrens. I firmly believe the removal of mercury from my mouth has helped.
    By the way I take Lesters Oil and can see an improvement in my general health and skin.

  3. Leigh Struthers Reply

    I am finding my old Amalgum fillings are all cracking now that they have been in for around 40 years I guess, but as I am getting them replaced with new Composite fillings, I am having big problems with sensitivity to hot and cold, which I never had with the Amalgums.

    • Jan Abernethy Reply

      I have had two amalgams out recently and I also have had a lot of trouble with the pain and sensitivity. The dentist says it is the white fillings that are sensitive although I had sensitivity around that teeth area before but not as bad as now. I have two more two go but it was so painful with my gums and teeth that I’m not sure whether I’ll get the others done, have to pluck up some courage. I’m not even chewing on the side that I have the white ones because it is sensitive to hold and cold. So Leigh, I know what you mean. Jan

      • To Leigh and Jan: I had a replacement done late April and I am still suffering cold sensitivity. It was extremely painful for 8 weeks following the replacement and I took far too many tablets to stop the pain. The Dentist said it would subside eventually!

        • The composite fillings should have no sensitivity at all if they are done properly.I have been a non amalgam dentist for 15 years and sensitive fillings is not an issue.

          • Michelle

            Geoff if you are an amalgam free dentist can you tell me where you are. I live in Christchurch New Zealand and find that when I go to the dentist I am told that the amalgam fillings are not a problem when I have expressed a wish to get them removed…………..I really want to start the process but find it hard to find a dentist who doesnt think this is a waste of time!

            Kind regards

    • just be aware that not or composites are equal and that some so called composites still have a mercury or other metal base to them. here is a very good chart fro an Auckland dentist web site regarding Composite fillings.
      http://www.dr-jacques-imbeau.com/PDF/Comparative%20table%20DC.pdf. Be sure if you have the amalgam out you have it done by a dentist that practices the Huggins protocol or similar. You can Google Huggins protocol for dentistry. I have no connection to the named website or Huggins but have been doing a lot of research on this subject just lately

  4. if you have a mouth full of mercury, can you be tested to see if you have a build up in your body?

    • Hi Bruce – you can certainly have this tested through a urine challenge test that uses a chelating agent called Captomer.

    • Julie Harvey Reply

      If you have a mouth full of mercury and live in Auckland, Brian Robinson a dentist at Lake Road Dental, Takapuna can electronically measure how much charge is given off each tooth. He also does safe removal of amalgam fillings and replaces them with the best plastic composite on the market. Sanctuary Dental in Botany also do safe removal.
      Mercury is hard to measure accurately and hard to get out of the body. It resides in organs, gut, brain, bones, nerves and connective tissue that I have experienced. So a normal blood or urine test won’t work unless mercury is mobilised. Before you do this you HAVE to have the fillings removed – that’s turning the dripping tap off – then the clean up starts.

      For a cheaper less invasive option read the book Amalgam illness : diagnosis and treatment by Andrew Hall Cutler it’s in AKL library and has pages of accurate symptoms and how mercury interacts with other metals etc. It also provides treatments which I would strongly recommend not doing unless you are under the care of someone who knows what they are doing as you can repoison yourself very easily. Research methylmercury and systemic candida.

      Mercury is no joke and if you have high levels of mercury your short term memory will be severely impaired, your vitamin and mineral levels are likely depleted (especially magnesium and zinc), more than likely have an autoimmune condition, gluten intolerance and a whole bunch of other things that means self treatment is a very dangerous, stupid idea. It’s not called the mad hatters disease for nothing.

      Dr Glenn Twentymann from the Holistic Medical Centre, Grey Lynn has dealt with his own mercury problems and has a protocol for removal. Peter Gerdes, also recovered from mercury toxicity, naturopath and homeopath uses another more individual approach, but is based in Whangarei.

      If you are going to get bloods done also check for Molecular Haematology, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene studies, if you have this gene or its mutated form it means your bodies ability to process heavy metals is reduced, 8-16% of us have it.

      Video of a tooth leeching toxic mercury vapour.

      Good luck and teach your kids to look after their teeth.

      • well said and better put than my previous reply above. thank you

    • John Railton Reply

      The best test is a hair test followed by urine and blood.

  5. Very happy with my amalgam fillings and have seen no research that DEFINATEY points to amalgam fillings causing any Heath
    problems . Yes removing amalgam fillings will improve ones well being -when they have paid a lot of money to have them removed.

    • I would suggest you and any one else interested in finding out more about the threat to Amalgam and mercury fillings check out this very well researched and reference website.
      http://www.flcv.com/indexa.html DENTAL AMALGAM FILLINGS PAGE

  6. I had my many amalgam fillings removed by a specialist dentist about eight years ago after being tested for Mercury poisoning, which showed I had very elevated levels of mercury. They were replaced by composite fillings and I have felt much better since. I am sure they were affecting my health. Many dentists still defend the use of amalgam. It should be banned!

  7. Adam Archer Reply

    Mercury is extremely difficult for the body to remove, it MUST build up and even in healthy people have some effect, I have a mouth full of mercury fillings and have noticed that it causes the filled teeth to become ‘dark’ stained and brittle, prone to cracking and chipping, also from what I have observed and read it seems to increase the risk of neurological problems and altzheimers type symptoms, NEVER blindly trust the powers that be, just look at the poison that is Flouride foisted on us by so called ‘health’ professionals, a potent toxin used in Nazi concentration camps to keep the inmates quiet and docile, it has now been removed from our Hamilton drinking water thanks to the efforts of many people including dentists, doctors and many others to show the truth and evidence to the blinkered brainwashed sheeple of the negative effects of this poison, time will show & prove the fallacy of the profit motivated propaganda by pharmaceutical companies, and worse by corrupt governments.

  8. What do we know about the new composite fillings? what is in them? will they have a long term affect on our health?

    • please check my post reply above to Jan Abernathy re Composites

  9. I had four mercury fillings removed. Unfortunately, I didn’t know there was a safe procedure for this at the time. I developed numerous severe symptoms (those listed above and many more including extreme weight gain and premature menopause). My doctor diagnosed me with chronic fatigue (which I didn’t accept as I believe this is a symptom and not a diagnosis) because none of the numerous tests done showed anything definitive. Nine months later, Dr Bill Donaldson (Kinesiologist) diagnosed me with mercury poisoning. A urine provocation test confirmed dangerous levels of mercury. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the unsafe removing of mercury fillings that caused my mercury poisoning and therefore major health issues. Thankfully, Lake Road Dental were able to safely remove my remaining mercury fillings. Now, four years on, I still suffer from fatigue and inability to lose weight, but I am so much better than I was. I truly don’t think I’d be alive now if it wasn’t for Dr Donaldson.

    • I found this very interesting as I suffer from on-going fatigue and a burning mouth. After getting absolutely nowhere with doctors/herbs/homoeopathy I have decided to look into the possibility that this may be a result of amalgam toxicity. Would you advise me to see Dr Donaldson or should I just go ahead and get all the mercury out (by a specialist). I have to admit I am a little wary of certain modalities – having experienced some previously with no success at all. Can be a lot of expense for very little gain.
      Kind regards

  10. Joan Rogers Reply

    Does one have to go to a specialist dental practice for the amalgam to be removed?
    I am looking for a really good dentist in the Eastern suburbs, Howick, Botany area for amalgam removal.
    Advise please.

    • yes look for a Holistic or someone advertising specialising in this sort of removal, see post above yours

  11. Cathy Winder Reply

    Please dont call it the Murder House. The profession provided and still does a great need in our communities.To blame the dental nurses putting amalgam fillings is very wrong.They were and are told what to use so the fault lies in the government at the time NOT the malevolent dental nurse!Thank goodness the attitude has changed somewhat and children see the benefit of a healthy mouth and it has become a good experience for them.Amalgam fillings are not widely used now.
    Maybe we should ask ourselves what is in the White filling material,still chemicals! and how long will they last?The whole point of the matter is that the cavities should not have been there in the first place.
    The dental therapist as they are known today do a wonderful job and without them I would hate to see the state of chidrens teeth.

  12. Is there anyone who does safe amalgam removal in the South Island – preferably in the south, maybe Dunedin or Invercargill?

    • Anna there is a dentist at green island in Dunedin and he takes a while to get into. I have been waiting since beginning of August and will get my initial appointment on the 1st and 2nd of October. his name is Russell Mclean

  13. Hi Joan. Yes, definitely go to a toxicology dentist. I can highly recommend Lake Road Dental in Takapuna. I think there’s only one other in Auckland, so best to take the trip to the shore. Good luck!

  14. Am in the process of removing my amalgams…. No problem with a change in sensitivity at all. Attacking fillings as they need replacing (cracked, I’m 63) Have had some done at Avonhead Dental Centre, (Christchurch) with no questions or funny looks! It’s my mouth (and health), but they are not ‘specialists’ Swallowing what comes out of the tooth probably defeats the purpose!!

  15. Vitamin C can bind with toxic metals (inc mercury) and carry them out of the body; so would recommend higher doses of this, especially in the lypospheric form. Health Post have the most economical range. Just considering my health problems in the light of reading all of the above… thank you to everyone and About Health for starting this conversation.

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