Installing or removing amalgam (a.k.a. “silver” or metal) cavity fillings is never, ever recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding. In my book, amalgam should never be installed in the first place, but should certainly be removed as soon as possible. When a developing infant is depending on its mother for nourishment, however, mercury removal is a bad idea.

When amalgam is installed or removed, a spike of mercury is ingested through the mouth, nose, or skin, released into the bloodstream and soft tissues of the body, and then stored in fatty tissue — fatty tissue not only meaning stored body fat, but mostly in the brain and various glands and organs that rely on fat/cholesterol to function properly. This is why you hear primarily about severe nervous or endocrine conditions caused by mercury poisoning, though other symptoms of mercury toxicity run the gamut from random minor complaints to chronic illness. Symptoms may seem completely unrelated, making it difficult to diagnose. But it is definitely there if you’ve been exposed to it, whether or not you “feel” poisoned by it.

With that knowledge, you can imagine how vulnerable a growing baby would be to the mother’s mercury exposure. Conventional dentistry and its literature may tell you otherwise. They say there is little to no significant risk or imminent danger. Many patients testify to having mouths just full of metal or having it installed/removed during pregnancy but deliver and raise kids who are perfectly normal. Let me put it flatly: they do not know what they are talking about. Again, mercury poisoning’s symptoms will not always be obvious. If that stuff is in your body, it will affect you or your offspring. It could be random headaches. It could be infertility or other hormonal discomforts. It could be sluggishness, foggy thinking, or the inability to lose weight. It could be autism or ADHD or another neurological disorder. These problems certainly aren’t getting better in our country, and the number of children developing these problems is steadily increasing, not decreasing! Is it possible this “harmless” amalgam has anything to do with it?

All this to say, causing further disruption to amalgam dental work would be very dangerous for both mom and baby. It is key to have all mercury safely removed from your teeth before conceiving. Don’t wait until pregnancy — planned or not — to care for your health in this important (but too often overlooked) way. Either take care of it now before conceiving, or wait until after weaning when you can have it removed and safely detox without worrying about passing on the poison to your child.

The only ways we’re going to keep having healthy babies and pregnancies is by thinking ahead, thinking critically, staying informed, and applying what we learn.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

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