Q: When’s a good time to go to the dentist?

A: 2:30. Get it? Tooth-hurty?


On Wednesday afternoon I’m heading in to see a new (to me) dentist to have a cavity filled. At least, I hope that’s all that has to be done.

I’ve had this decay in my back bottom tooth (molar) since I was pregnant with Julian. My dentist at the time said he’d fix it when I was no longer pregnant. Well, that darn tooth started hurting a lot one day so I made another appointment. By the time I was seen again (a few days after it started acting up), it was no longer hurting, and, because I was still pregnant, he said we should wait to do anything about it until I had the baby.

The baby is now nearly 7 months old and I’ve yet to go in and get that tooth filled. I’ve had a cleaning since Julian was born though, and talked to the dentist then about filling it. But I discovered at that time that he uses amalgam (i.e. mercury) fillings and something about that didn’t sit right with me.

I started doing some research about mercury fillings and found a bunch of information about why it’s not necessarily safe to have them. So why get them at all when alternatives (composite, gold, porcelain) are available?

Check out the “Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas” video from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. There’s a lot of good information on that site. Or read more here or there’s a ton of information on the Mothering dental forum.

One of the big concerns if you are a woman who has amalgam fillings and has had children is that you’ve likely passed mercury to your child in utero and then also exposed them to mercury while breastfeeding. (Of course, amalgam fillings or not, breast milk is still the best possible nutrition for your babies.) It is for those reasons that many women are having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced.

From Elemental (metallic) mercury and its compounds are toxic and exposure to excessive levels can permanently damage or fatally injure the brain and kidneys. Elemental mercury can also be absorbed through the skin and cause allergic reactions. Ingestion of inorganic mercury compounds can cause severe renal and gastrointestinal toxicity. Organic compounds of mercury such as methylmercury are considered the most toxic forms of the element. Exposures to very small amounts of these compounds can result in devastating neurological damage and death.

For fetuses, infants and children, the primary health effects of mercury are on neurological development. Even low levels of mercury exposure such as result from mother’s consumption methylmercury in dietary sources can adversely affect the brain and nervous system. Impacts on memory, attention, language and other skills have been found in children exposed to moderate levels in the womb.

I feel fortunate that I’ve only had a couple very small cavities in the past and they were filled with composite fillings.

Anyway, I decided to find a dentist who didn’t use amalgam. I asked some friends and found one who accepts our insurance. So that’s where I’m headed tomorrow. *Gulp*

From what I hear, this dentist is pretty easy on the eyes. I guess if you have to have someone drilling in your mouth, they could at least be cute. 😉 Still, I’m not too excited about this. Wish me luck.

7 thoughts on “Tooth-hurty”

  1. Ha – I once had a cute dentist – it did make it somewhat easier….

    I have a maryland (sp) bridge in the front and ended up in a heated arguement with my “cute” dentist that I wanted no metal at all and ended up switching dentist – they told me that the porcelin wouldn’t last as long as the metal but so far the porcelin is much more comfortable and it’s been over 2 years and no issues – so yay! I am also thinking of having all my previous fillings switched – which may take some time.


  2. Hmmm…never heard about that before, and believe me I have had PLENTY of fillings. I avoided mercury in fish while pregnant but never considered the mercury in my fillings. Just an FYI, most insurance will only cover up to the cost of the metal cavity and you have to cover the cost over that for the white filling. At least that has been my experience.

    Seriously, I’m lucky if I don’t have at least one cavity a year. Went to the dentist yesterday…yep, need another filling. I did choose the composite this time though. ;0

    Last year I had to have a root canal, so I’ll take a little filling over that ANY DAY! My teeth suck!

  3. I’m glad you found a mercury free dentist! I am going in on the 3rd to see one who specializes in amalgam filling removal – I have five. I believe there is no such thing as “Fibromyalgia”, which doctors diagnosed me with 8 years ago, I think it is amalgam illness. I calculated the amount of mercury I am breathing in each day and it’s 7x the WTO “safe” limits (as if any exposure to mercury is safe). I’m so excited to have them out – even if they have to take nearly the whole tooth, and even if it breaks the bank.

  4. I made sure the girls dentist had mercury free fillings. Hopefully, they will never need to get them. Definitely, check with your insurance. Our dentist has a HUGE sign at his office about that. Hopefully, yours is good!!

    *Erica, that is very interesting… I have several fillings (cough…several) and they are all metal. I have several symptoms similar to MS. Been through many tests, procedures, doctors, etc…and no one can determine what is causing them…very interesting!! Might have to look into that myself*

  5. My dentist does some sort of plastic stuff I think.

    If the guy is good looking but you only get to see up his nose for the ‘hole” time will it still be worth it!? LOL!

  6. Hee hee! Guess where I was this afternoon? Yep, at the dentist, having a filling put in…not an amagam one, though 🙂 Hope your visit went smoothly!

  7. The smile is an amazing powerful possession. It’s and external reflection of our inner state of mind and being. A growing percent of the population is starting to realize how important a beautiful smile is. It enhances your self confidence and self-esteem. It can be an essential business asset to have those “pearly whites.” Research tells us that attractive people are perceived as more trustworthy, fair, and confident.

    Think Young

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