Getting My Fillings Replaced, Part II

This past summer, I saw a naturopath who is experienced with dealing with mercury toxicity. She wanted me to replace all of my fillings right away because I was planning to get pregnant (if I wasn’t going to get pregnant, she would have wanted to only remove a couple at a time and space it out over a long period). She wanted me to replace them with porcelain because composites contain BPA or Bis-GMA which are both endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, the porcelain fillings cost $1100 each. Yikes. Luckily, I asked my holistic dentist, and he had one type of composite that contains neither of these chemicals. It is called Diamond Lite.

I had eight amalgam fillings. As I’ve mentioned before, amalgams contain approximately 50% mercury, and mercury is highly toxic, which is why I was having them removed. I had four fillings on each side of my mouth, so the plan was to do one side per visit, for a total of two visits. I was supposed to get it done right away, so that I could hurry up and get pregnant, but there are risk factors involved, so I went back and forth on it for a while, and then it was really hard to muster up the courage to tell my husband I wanted to spend over $2000 on something that I didn’t think he’d be on board with. In the end, I felt I really needed to try this in hopes that my health will improve more and also I hope it will reduce mercury exposure to my next child. I think it would be worth it for either one of those alone. Thankfully, husband was willing to spend the money if our savings was looking good, so I told him my photography savings would cover it and he readily agreed I could spend that money. Bye-bye new camera! ūüė•

Before having my last amalgams replaced. The other side already had two composites placed on the bottom and two on top. I have to say, the composites are much more attractive.
After having composites placed on one side.

Last week I had my first appointment. Before the procedure I took one captomer pill that my ND had prescribed. I took another in the evening and then three the next day. Captomer is a chelating drug that captures mercury and removes it from the body via urine. I learned it also can steal minerals from the body, especially zinc, iron and copper. This led me to becoming very cranky by the second day on them. Thank goodness I only have to do two days per dental visit. I was also supposed to take psyllium husk fiber, too, but I had forgot. I did take it the second time.

After I took my pill, the dental assistant put some topical analgesic on the areas where I was to get my anesthetic shots. I was also given an iPod with noise reduction headphones and music to help me relax. When the dentist started injecting the local¬†anesthetic, I had a reaction. First I felt weird and had this “light” feeling in my chest. Then I got cold and my arms and hands got tingly and my hands were shaky. They told me it was a nervous reaction to the needle. I don’t think it was from being nervous, though, since I don’t have an actual fear of needles. I’ve been poked hundreds of times in my life and the last time I had a reaction this bad was the last time I had dental work done–ten years ago. My husband thought it could be a nervous system response to the anesthetic.

So the dental assistant (who I kept thinking of as a nurse) put a blood pressure cuff on my arm and an oxygen monitor on my finger and they gave me oxygen through a nose mask that they normally use when they are removing mercury so the patient doesn’t breathe in the mercury vapors. I had these three things on me the whole time and was told to breathe deeply. They gave me Rescue Remedy (a popular flower essence blend) to calm me and a bottle of Gatorade to bring my blood sugar up. I also had two blankets on me because of being cold. Having all this stuff on me and my reaction gave me such an out-of-sorts feeling that reminded me of the time I had an “awake” surgery done where I was on some sort of “loopy” drug that made me not really care what was going on. Only I wasn’t loopy. But seeing the dentist and assistant hover over me, I really felt like they were a surgeon and nurse doing surgery on me. It was especially weird when I looked up and saw them wearing gas masks. I cranked up the music and tuned them out as much as possible.

Afterwards, I was advised to eat a lot of carbohydrates before I came in for my second visit. I had not eaten enough before this one and I was told that my nervous reaction burned through my lunch really fast and that made my reaction worse. I was numb for a few hours following, and then my jaw was sore and my teeth ached when I tried chewing with them. Luckily I was supposed to have whey protein (natural chelator), so it was the perfect excuse to have a chocolate shake. I was still a little sore for a few days. And then after that, one or two of my teeth ached when I had foods that were sweet. I hope this is not a permanent problem.

My second visit was yesterday, and it went much better. Since I didn’t have any really high carbohydrate foods at home, after my usual breakfast of eggs, milk and fruit, I made myself a hot chocolate and then got a bagel with cream cheese. This seemed to help a lot. I was actually¬†more nervous this time around but my reaction was much less severe. I was also a¬†lot warmer. I didn’t have to have the blood pressure cuff or oxygen monitor and I only got the oxygen when they were removing the amalgams. I felt much more with it, and it felt more like other times I’d had dental work done. I listened to music part of the time, other times I turned it down to listen to the dentist and his assistant.

They used what is called a “rubber dam,” which is a square little rubber sheet which they push over the teeth they are going to work on, and it blocks out the rest of the mouth, so nothing gets breathed in or swallowed. I remember having this at least one time that I had fillings placed, but I’m not sure if I’ve always had it. They use the drill to remove the amalgams. They use their gas masks during this and I got the oxygen mask. There was also a large tube that sucks up the vapors and the assistant had a small hand-held tube that she held in my mouth to suck up vapors as they were released. When the amalgams were out the gas masks and oxygen mask came off. The dentist then filled my teeth with the composite. A special light was used to cure the composites. Then he drilled and polished them into shape. I think he stuck little wedges between my teeth so the composite didn’t close the little space between. I’m not sure though, it was hard to tell exactly what they were doing from my position.

My jaw is still sore and I noticed one of my teeth was sore when I tried chewing with it. Hopefully that will go away soon and I hope I don’t get any sensitivity issues on this side.

I am hoping to have a noticeable improvement in my health from having the mercury taken out of my mouth, but I think to see real improvements I will probably need to get it removed from the tissues in my body. I’m not sure when that will happen. I will try to get an appointment with my naturopath soon and see what she thinks I should do next, if anything (I don’t know if she will want to do any chelation if I am wanting to get pregnant soon). I think I would at least like to take a mercury challenge test to see how much of a mercury load I have. I’ll will update when I have more info or if I notice any improvements.

Update: If you have persistent pain after having composites placed, you might enjoy my post on how I eliminated my own pain from this procedure.


10 thoughts on “Getting My Fillings Replaced, Part II

  1. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I would love to hear your follow-up thoughts after being amalgam filling free for almost a year. This has always been on my “wish list”, if I can just find a way to swing it financially.

    1. Hi Zadie. That would be a good topic for a new post! But since I don’t have the time for it right now, I’ll just summarize really quick.

      I can’t say if I feel better after having my amalgams removed because I’ve been pregnant since May, which means a lot of changes to my body, much of which has not made me feel so good. However, I am so glad I replaced those fillings because otherwise I’d be worrying about mercury exposure to my developing baby. Also, interestingly, my kidneys seem to be handling pregnancy better this time around (kidney tissue is a favorite spot for mercury to accumulate), although my diet is better this time, too, so that could be why.

      My tooth sensitivity from the new fillings went away after several months, but has returned just a little since being pregnant for several months. This supports my idea that remineralization of the teeth through a good diet (such as outlined in the book Cure Tooth Decay) can reduce tooth sensitivity caused by new fillings, since pregnancy uses up a lot of minerals and I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my needs (and my body may be pulling a little from my teeth–I think this is why so many women have oral health problems when pregnant).

      So in a nutshell, I do not regret my decision to replace my fillings, and I think I may be benefitting from it, but it’s hard to really analyze that because of the pregnancy. But even if I wasn’t benefitting, I’m pretty sure my unborn baby is better off without the mercury, both now and also later when I would be breastfeeding, breathing around the baby, etc.

  2. Curious, do you eat much liver in your diet? For teeth health it is about the best thing you can do. That or something like cod liver oil (way expensive though). You want to get vitamin A, K2, D3 in your diet for bone/teeth strength (best from animal sources). Check it out. Given time and good nutrition, even teeth can/will heal.

    Also, keep an eye on synthetic Vitamin A consumption ( It’s in everything, and probably not an issue in low doses, but as a fat soluble vitamin, if it is causing issues with real vitamin A (through displacement) and not doing it’s job, could be a problem… Again, not trying to scare, but I think it’s worth evaluating for yourself.

    1. Hi Brandon: I do eat some liver, and I’m working on including more. I take fermented cod liver oil often. My teeth did heal over several months, and I’ve been recommending to people to follow the protocol in Cure Tooth Decay. I was already mostly following much of the advice in the protocol and I’m pretty sure that helped the pain go away, as well as having a reduction in the inflammation of the tooth pulp. If interested, you can read some discussion on a similar post of mine:

      I’m certain I don’t eat any foods with synthetic vitamin A. We avoid processed foods, additives, synthetic vitamins, etc.

  3. Great Post!

    Do you mind sharing which dentist you used? I also live in Oregon and am trying to find someone who works with Diamond Lite composites.

    Also, do you know much about insurance and which one is best for holistic dentists? I’m finding that most in the Portland area are not even listed on providers for most insurance companies, its pretty discouraging.

    1. Hi Alex. The dentist I went to was Jeffrey Williamson. I don’t know anything about dental insurance because I didn’t have any. I know Dr Williamson accepts insurance, but I don’t know which ones.

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I am scheduled to have amalgam removal (part 1 of 4) in March and I am researching the web for how long to do the detox diet so that it all happens safely. Any feedback post-amalgam removal? Any suggestions, ideas & advice? I have to be honest, I am a little nervous, especially reading about all the possible side-effects. I am going to a biological dentist but still, it’s a big thing. Thanks!

    1. I know this reply is coming too late, but I recommend consulting with a naturopath for a detox plan. And always make sure your detox pathways are open before detoxing.

  5. I’m curious how long after the amalgam fillings did you wait to become pregnant? I’m facing the same dilemma. Were you having health problems prior to removal? Wondering how it all turned out for you. Your posts have been helpful. Thank you!!

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