Help Me Understand Why the US is Ignoring the Mercury Treaty

I can’t figure out what’s going on. I’ve been trying to talk to dentists about the treaty that the U.S. signed agreeing to phase out mercury fillings. It seems we’re ignoring it and no one is paying attention. If they signed it does that mean they’ve finally admitted those fillings are dangerous? There aren’t holistic dentists in my area, so I’m trying to get the regular ones to understand my strong feelings about this. Why are we ignoring the treaty?

Monica L.

Dear Monica,

I believe you’re referring to the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It wasn’t referring to mercury fillings, except in the case of how they’re disposed of. It focuses on mercury poisoning in the water, named in honor of the Japanese city which was devastated by mercury poisoning.

As  far as the FDA is concerned, mercury fillings are perfectly safe; though, understandably, many patients are uncomfortable packing their teeth with mercury. However, I don’t want you to feel trapped into getting amalgam fillings. They’re the ones which have the mercury content.

Even if you don’t have holistic dentists in your area, you can still get composite (white fillings). I’d call around and look for a mercury free dentist. They work exclusively with composite fillings.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Is It Safe to Find an Affordable Cosmetic Dentist?

I go to an affordable dentist. He finds ways to cut costs so I can get the procedures I want. He knows I’ve always been embarrassed about my smile, but can’t afford to do anything cosmetic. Recently, he offered to do some cosmetic work for me at a discount. I keep hearing you need to go to the top of the line cosmetic dentists or you’ll end up with an even more embarrassing smile. Is this true? I’m really tempted to get the work done.

Missy L.

Dear Missy,

I can understand your temptation. And, let me say, it sounds like you have a dentist with a truly compassionate heart. I love when I hear stories of dentists trying to help patients who are struggling financially.

A lot of my answer will depend on what type of cosmetic work you are considering having done. If you’re talking about teeth whitening, any dentist can do it regardless of cosmetic skill. It’s a fairly simple procedure which is hard to mess up.

If you’re talking about getting porcelain veneers, then it would be important you choose your cosmetic dentist carefully. It’s a very advanced procedure.  Start by talking to him about his training in porcelain veneers. Ask to see his smile gallery, which has before and after pictures of work he’s done. If his work is good, he’ll be happy to share it with you. If you like what you see, you’ll be fine.

If you’re not thrilled with the results you’re seeing, go to the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend expert cosmetic dentists by area. You can see who they recommend in your area. It would be worth it to wait and save up for a better dentist than to end up with a smile you’re disappointed with.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.