Dentists Worry About Lead and Mercury

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Dental Survey ResultsThis survey asked dentists how concerned they are about various potential public health threats linked to dentistry. Dentists’ concerns, in order, are:

  1. Lead in dental lab work
  2. Mercury in amalgam
  3. Bisphenol-A in composite, and
  4. Fluoride in water supplies.

"All four of these need to be totally nailed down as to their safety, or lack, thereof," said one dentist. "I'd like to be doing all gold restorations," sighed another.

Read the dentists’ comments for further insight.

General dentists versus specialists


General dentists had higher levels of concern on all issues than specialists.

However, specialists and generalists agreed on the relative dangers of the chemicals covered in this survey.

For more insight, check out these comments!!

Thoughts on the issue

  • “I’d like to be doing all gold restorations.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “All four of these need to be totally nailed down as to their safety, or lack thereof.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “I feel it’s ironic that some patients don’t want ‘artificial chemicals’ in their mouth and decline all the natural elements in amalgam and opt for the complex chemistry of composites!” (Florida dentist)
  • "Two things that will bite dentistry in the butt are fluoride and amalgam if we don't stop forcing them on the public.” (Idaho dentist)

Mercury has been proven safe over time

  • "150 years have not proved Amalgam to be dangerous.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Contained with the metals of the amalgam, it's not dangerous.” (Ohio dentist)
  • “Amalgams have saved billions of teeth!” (Washington dentist)
  • “I sincerely believe some dentists are using ‘mercury scare ‘tactics to increase their ‘busy-ness’.” (Texas dentist)

Mercury is a known toxin

  • "A known toxin, no safe levels, should be banned.” (Louisiana dentist)
  • “Definitely neurotoxic.” (Kansas dentist)
  • “If you’re not supposed to touch it with your hands, why is it safe in the mouth?” (California dentist)
  • “The effects of Hg from amalgams drives our health care system like no other factor.” (Arkansas dentist)

Lead has no place in dental work

  • “Lead in dental casting alloy? Outrageous!” (Colorado dentist)
  • “Cheap sons of bitches with their bargain labs.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Highly synergistic toxicity, especially with mercury.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “Recent articles have debunked the worry over the amount of lead in ‘farmed-out’ crowns. Still, we need to monitor that work.” (California dentist)

BPA is not a big deal

  • “Give me a break.” (General dentist)
  • “The quantities are probably miniscule.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “This stuff is everywhere. Composites without BPA just don’t hold up well.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “It's probably not too dangerous, but don’t cast stones, Mr. Composite: you live in a glass house!” (New Jersey dentist)

BPA requires more research

  • “I am concerned about this because of all the composites and sealants being used in children.” (Texas dentist)
  • “It’s ironic that many patients are removing long tested amalgam and replacing them with bisphenol composites of unproven safety.” (California dentist)
  • “We need to know what amounts are harmful and if it is accumulative.” (California dentist)
  • “Who knows what they will be saying in twenty years…” (Colorado dentist)

Fluoride is genuinely amazing

  • “100% safe.” (Louisiana oral surgeon)
  • “The best public health measure ever instituted in this country for caries prevention.” (Texas dentist)
  • “It's been proven safe and effective at therapeutic levels.” (New Jersey dentist)

Fluoride is genuinely dangerous

  • “Known to be toxic.” (California dentist)
  • "People have their heads in the sand. The high incidence of testicular cancer in male adolescents living in fluoridated areas is enough to tell me.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Fluoride use in humans is the result of industry and government collusion, not scientific research.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • "Recent studies suspect fluoride in water of my home town having caused a few osteosarcomas.” (California dentist)

Fluoride might not belong in our water supplies

  • “If you want fluoride to work, rub it on the teeth, don’t ingest it. If you want to prevent skin cancer, do you put SPF 30 in the water supply?” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “It's been shown to be effective, but we shouldn’t be medicating the whole population.” (Colorado dentist)
  • "Why should we forcefully medicate people when those who really want it can easily get it? Dentists need to stop forcing fluoride on the public. The ADA and the AGD need to stop promoting it.” (Idaho dentist)

Other potential public health threats in dentistry

  • Amalgam fillings in autoclaved extracted teeth
  • Biofilms
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Cross contamination
  • Decibel levels
  • Dental insurance companies
  • Dental waterline contaminants
  • Independent hygiene
  • Intraoral mixed metals
  • Lead foils discarded in trash
  • Methacrylate in dentures
  • PVS/VPS impression materials
  • Root canals being non-sterile
  • Sugar
  • Transdermal (trans latex glove) exposure to bonding agent


Note: Survey sample included 195 respondents.

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