My story begins back in 1994, when I was first introduced to the term “biological dentistry.” Sometimes, I think it was either a divine intervention for me or simply by chance that I found a book called Mercury Free by James Hardy at a local bookstore. It told the story of how mercury was officially introduced to the dental profession back in the 1830s. Dr. Hardy made some bold statements about the ill effects that mercury exposure could have on our patients’ health and wellness.
The first time I read this book, I was angry at the assumptions that this dentist was making! There’s nothing wrong with placing mercury in our patients’ mouths – right? Through my four years of dental school and the first eleven years of my practice, I had never heard of any controversy about mercury. So I threw the book down and dismissed this as a ridiculous theory presented by a very misinformed individual.
But sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you soon realize that there are two sides to every story. The only question I needed to answer for myself was if I could honestly look at a controversial issue with an unbiased opinion to discover the truth about mercury.
I decided to read Mercury Free again with an open mind, and this time, I discovered that Dr. Hardy’s statements were supported with references and scientific research that seemed difficult to refute. I began my own personal quest to find out all the pros and cons about mercury so that I could decide once and for all the best course of action for my patients’ well-being.
Conclusion: Mercury is considered the second most toxic material known to humankind (plutonium is first), and once placed in a patient’s tooth, mercury vapor continues to be released from the restoration. Not only is it inhaled through the lungs; it can cross the blood/brain barrier, as well.
My mind was made up. The best course of action for my practice was to eliminate the use of mercury once and for all. After making this decision, I soon realized that my personal life and dental career would never be the same, and for good reason.
As I look back over the years, my concept of dental health has evolved as I’ve incorporated an holistic perspective in treating my patients. “Keep it safe – Keep it simple” is our mantra in the office now.
As dentistry continues to service our patients into the 21st century, we must remember that the mechanical benefits of restoring the mouth go hand in hand with the biological effects that these procedures may cause to the rest of the body. In other words, the tooth/body connection must be considered when treating our patients. We must use dental materials that lend themselves to wellness. We must evaluate treatments such as root canals and implants, and recognize how these procedures may compromise our biological health and well being.
To your good health,
Michael G. Rehme, DDS, NMD, CCN