History of Mercury Amalgam

Mercury Amalgam fillingsKathleen Bernardi – Why I Write My Blog, Part 4

Last week I finished with a promise to discuss an entirely opposite view of mercury amalgam.  In order to lay the ground work for this view, I am going to begin with a short history lesson in the mercury fillings story.

  • The most common dental filling materials prior to Amalgam (mercury) were: cork, tin, wood chips, resins (e.g. pine) and lead.
  • The word amalgam actually refers to any mixture of elemental mercury and other metals to form a unique compound.
  • Typically a compound is named after its main ingredient.  In this case, the names silver or amalgam fillings were adopted, not mercury fillings as should have been the case as elemental mercury is the main ingredient.
  • 1816:  The first mercury filling was created by a Frenchman named August Taveau when he mixed elemental mercury with shavings from silver coins.
  • 1830: Two French brothers, the Crawcours brought  mercury fillings to England.
  • 1833: The Crawcours emigrated to the United States bringing their mercury fillings with them.
  • The term dentist comes from the French word for tooth, dent.
  • Amalgam became the filling material of choice as it was inexpensive, easy to mix and place, sealed the tooth better and lasted longer.
  • Prior to 1840 there were two types of dentists: barber-dentists and doctor-dentists.
  • Barber-dentists probably due to their adjustable chairs were in the business of cutting hair and pulling teeth.
  • No training, regulations or consumer protections laws existed and because mixing and placing mercury fillings was easy barber-dentists adopted this new technique creating healthy profits in the process.
  • Doctor-dentists or physician-dentists and the rest of the scientific community of that day knew that mercury was a poison as a result of having observed chronic mercury poisoning in the hat-making industry.
  • Mad Hatters as they were known, were hat makers who after years of exposure to elemental mercury (common solution used to turn fur into felt for hats contained elemental mercury) would experience mercury-related neurological symptoms such as:

◊ tremors.

◊ anxiety

◊ emotional instability

◊ mood swings irritability

◊ forgetfulness


◊ regressive behavior

◊ aggressiveness

◊ anger

  • Doctor-dentists did not fully understand how and why elemental mercury could cause these symptoms but recognized at the very least that elemental mercury was a health hazard and because it was contained in amalgam fillings it should be banned!!!

I will end here today and ask that you all contemplate that last point, keeping in mind who supported this and when it occurred!!!!!  I would love your feedback.  As always, I offer commentluv here on my blog. That’s a plug in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,




6 thoughts on “History of Mercury Amalgam

  1. Thank you Kathleen for this informative blog on mercury fillings. I had all my mercury fillings removed about 10 years ago after reading about the potential for mercury fillings to “leak”. That means “leaking” mercury into the blood stream. I felt this was one thing I could control in my environment.

  2. Hi Cathy,

    Thanks so much for your comments! I especially like your attitude about all of this and that given the knowledge this was one thing in your environment that you could do something about. I commend you for being a pioneer in moving forward with having your mercury fillings out as many dentists as well as the ADA still do not feel this is necessary.

    What I am going to be speaking about in the future is that it’s not only about having them taken out it’s also about how they are taken out!!!! People need to understand the difference and why.



  3. Its a nice blog you have shared here. As everybody know It has been found the Mercury is a highly toxic metal which has been associated with a number of health concerns. Simply chewing could release harmful mercury vapour from the fillings which could effect the nervous systems of developing children.Looking forward for hearing more on this subject.

  4. I did not realize how toxic mercury was until I became ill and left the dental practice I was working in. I had time to read and research and now feel that part of my mission is to help educate the public as well as the dental profession about this issue. Unfortunately, most do not want to hear it!!!


    Kathleen Bernardi

  5. hi im looking at your comment about mercury poison,
    I have a lot of mercury fillings since i was 13, im now suffering many cognective problems and getting worse, i hope to se my gp 2 weeks time to ask for a mercury test. I have suffered terrible symptoms in the past 3 years, memery loss, pins@neddles in my hole body with cramps proalasis to my hole body. @ a few hospital admissions. but they say iv m.e. Im fighting to get a result to cure me.


    Ms Julie Taylor

  6. Hi Julie and thanks for your comment.

    I am sorry to hear of your health issues and hope that you are able to keep fighting to get to the bottom of your health challenges. Have you had a heavy metal test since you wrote your comment and if so what was the result?

    In Health,


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