Multiple Sclerosis and Dentistry

A hot topic of debate in dentistry is whether or not there is a link between multiple sclerosis and dental fillings, in particular amalgams. Amalgam restorations have been used in this country for 150 years. It is an alloy (mixture of metals) of mercury, usually about 50% with silver, copper, and lesser amounts of other metals.

Historically some researchers have proposed that the metal fillings can cause medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

The position of the American Dental Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is that amalgam fillings are safe and do not cause these conditions.

Not all agree. Dr. Hal Huggins of Colorado felt very strongly that these fillings were the root cause of various ailments and removed mercury fillings for quite a few patients. But Colorado has a very conservative dental board and they removed his license to practice dentistry there. This gives you some idea of the controversy on this topic.

In Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) mercury amalgam fillings are not legalized for dental use. Not only is there concern for the health of their population but there is concern about handling these fillings as waste. Dr. Mercola has reported a case of amalgam poisoning in her article which you can read:

The bottom line is this is definitely a hot topic.

I believe that different patients have different sensitivities to mercury much like some people have allergies to penicillin. As a dentist confronted with this, I recommend leaving the filings in if they are clinically OK. I remove them if the patients want them removed for esthetic reasons, or if they want them removed because their health practitioner has recommended their removal.

I am very happy with the composite (white) filling materials so I haven’t used amalgams in nearly 20 years. I have also had my metal fillings removed.