Banning Elemental Mercury in Amalgam Fillings

Why I Write My Blog – Part 5

We are resuming the history lesson on mercury fillings and if you recall, I left off last time with a request for you to contemplate the statement “elemental mercury was a health hazard and because it was contained in amalgam fillings it should be banned!!!

This statement was made by doctor-dentists of the time who reasoned that if mercury could make hatters mad then what could it do to people who had it in their teeth? In an attempt to prevent unregulated barber dentists from exposing the public to this poison, doctor-dentists formed the first dental school in the U.S. in 1828 and subsequently in 1848 the first dental association, the American Society of Dental Surgeons (ASDS). In was an attempt to regulate and standardize dental treatment and give credibility to licensed dentists and here’s the kicker, prohibit the use of amalgam fillings by member dentists.

A resolution was passed in 1843 banning the use of amalgam by members of the ASDS with the threat of license loss should they not comply, however, at the same time the public were still visiting barber dentists who continued to place amalgam fillings. Unfazed by the health hazards of amalgam fillings and making a great deal of money barber-dentists were oblivious to the concerns of the ASDS.

Members of the ASDS watched as members of the public continued to visit barber-dentists to have the cheaper, longer lasting amalgam fillings placed and as a result many ASDS dentists in an attempt to cash in on the trend decided that they wanted to place amalgam fillings as well.

More and more dentists left the society in order to be able to place the highly-profitable amalgam fillings and as a result the ASDS disbanded. Then, in 1859, in what to me is a tragic and ironic twist to this story the American Dental Association (ADA) was formed to support these amalgam-placing dentists without fear of losing their licenses.

So…….. In a nutshell: Originally, based on science and health concerns, doctor-dentists tried to protect the public from mercury exposure. Now, based upon ADA statements taken directly from their website today:

Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

My question to all of you is: Why did dentists who vehemently opposed mercury/amalgam fillings switch to their use?

As always, I love getting thoughtful comments here on my blog.  And here, you will get commentluv. 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,

Kathleen

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