Heidi Hatch: …for you this morning. It’s concerning your dental health. Do you have a mercury filling, maybe more than 1? I know I’ve got one. There’s many concern right now this morning over whether or not they’re really safe. While they are still approved by the American Dental Association, some dentists say they’re hazardous to your health and that’s why the Food and Drug Administration is now reviewing this case yet again after ruling to risks to patients as moderate but not harmful to your health 18 months ago. Tune this live is Orlando dentist, Dr. Zach Hodgins. Dr. Hodgins, thanks so much for coming in.
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Thank you for having me.
Heidi Hatch: Let’s talk a little bit about the reason why this concern is coming up. Why are we talking about this right now?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: I think that there have been many concerns with environmental exposure to… of mercury to human beings and there are a lot of studies that have shown that mercury fillings actually leak mercury into the system on a daily basis. So I think that’s concerned everybody.
Heidi Hatch: Do you use the mercury amalgam fillings in your practice?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: I do not.
Heidi Hatch: Why?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: For several reasons. They’re not really desired by patients for aesthetic reasons and also concern about the health issues as well. And they also crack teeth over time because they act like thermometers. Since they have so much mercury, they expand and contract with changes in temperature so they can damage teeth.
Heidi Hatch: We have been hearing for years now… if you’re pregnant don’t eat fish that has mercury, get rid of your mercury thermometers, all of these aren’t in our bodies 24 hours a day. Well, putting those mercury fillings in there, can this have an effect on our brain or kidneys as we otherwise hear in other things when they’re saying really stay away from mercury?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Right. I think that it can. And studies have shown that chronic mercury exposure can lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease so I think that’s definitely a concern… that’s what the FDA panel meeting this week will be discussing.
Heidi Hatch: Last time they assessed, they said that it’s a moderate concern but it’s not something that’s harmful to your health. Do you think the FDA would be reticent no matter what they find to say, “This is bad, you gotta take it out.” Because then, you create a situation where everybody’s like, “I gotta rid of these, I don’t have the money, how do I do this?” And then the entire country’s freaking out.
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Well I would hope that the FDA’s more concerned with our safety rather than economic downfall of having these fillings in your mouth, hopefully that’s the case.
Heidi Hatch: Mercury amalgam fillings. I’ve seen a video online, you go in Youtube and you see a video that some doctors have taken where it shows the mercury fillings leaking off when you chew in your mouth or when anything else goes on in there. Is that realistic? Does that happen?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Yes, absolutely. Studies have shown that the mercury is leeched from the fillings between 3 to 27 micrograms per day. So that’s definitely significant, I think.
Heidi Hatch: The American Dental Association still says it’s safe. It’s still the preferred metal of choice to use when filling teeth. Why is it that they back it?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Well I think that’s a combination of the FDA’s guidelines, I think that’s probably what they’re following. So that’s… I think that’s the reason why.
Heidi Hatch: Alright, before we let you go, one other quick question. People are considering getting these out, are there safer ways to do it or things you have to think about when you talk to your own dentist?
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Yes absolutely. There are protocols that have been set up for instance, by the IAOMT that’s…will provide for safe amalgam removal.
Heidi Hatch: Alright we’ll be following the FDA’s findings and we’ll bring it to you when we have it. Dr. Hodgins, thanks so much for coming in and sharing your answers with us this morning.
Dr. Zach Hodgins: Thanks for having me.