Most Dentists Split Over the Case of Anti-Amalgam Dentist Larry Hanus

Post your comments about the anti-amalgam dentist to our blog.

Anti-Amalgam Dentist Larry Hanus

Dr. Larry Hanus lost his dental license years ago for his outspoken anti-amalgam views (read more). In this poll, we asked dentists: Should Dr. Hanus get his dental license back?

When asked if Iowa's board should reinstate him, 57% of dentists in our most recent survey said no: there are other issues with Dr. Hanus besides his recommendation that patients replace all their amalgam fillings. The remaining 43% supported him, saying that dentists must be free to voice their health concerns, even if the ADA doesn’t like it..

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts on amalgam, the ADA, and Dr. Larry Hanus.

General dentists versus specialists


General dentists were significantly more likely than specialists to support Dr. Hanus in his bid to get his dental license back.

Urban, suburban and rural dentists


Geographic location was not correlated with opinion.

Male dentists compared to female dentists


Likewise, gender was not a significant factor.

For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments!

In support of Dr. Hanus

  • "Dr. Hanus should have his license back ASAP." (California dentist)
  • "He has a right to his opinion." (Illinois dentist)
  • "I don't agree that science supports their position, but they should be able to present their views." (Texas dental professional)
  • "Amalgam has it problems, but so do composite resins… Each dentist has the right to use the material they so elect, however their personal desires should never take away the rights of another dentist to use the another material as long as it is a legal acceptable material… Give the license back and be more humble." (Maryland dentist)

Sounds like malpractice…

  • "Any advice that dentists give to patients must be based upon science. Dr. Hanus didn't base his advice to patients on science. He told patients that they HAD to have amalgam fillings replaced, even when those fillings were in good shape. In other words, he recommended expensive, unnecessary dental treatment." (California dentist)
  • "Dentists that go beyond the fringe of good science for their own financial gain hurt patients and the profession. I have seen patients who were told to remove all of their amalgams to feel better, to prevent disease, because they were 'old.' etc. Studies continue to show no clear evidence of any form of illness being related to mercury containing amalgam… The best and fairest form of dental care is one that informs patients of the advantages and disadvantages of each restorative material and allows them to choose which they want." (Maryland dentist
  • "Speaking against mercury as a personal opinion is fine, but replacing restorations just because they are amalgam is malpractice." (pediatric dentist)
  • "Half truths are never good." (Louisiana oral surgeon)
  • "These guys are quacks, interested only in making money, not patient well-being." (Georgia orthodontist)

Ever heard of freedom of speech?

  • "How simple could it get? Does the First Amendment mean anything to anybody, or is the ADA exempt from it?" (Illinois dentist)
  • "I think it is awful that he lost his license for doing his best for his patients and informing them of the hazards of mercury." (California dentist)
  • "I know nothing of this gentleman. If there are other issues with his ethics, honesty etc. then those things should be considered. However, you should not lose your license for speaking your mind, solely." (Kansas dentist)
  • "Let us remember that in the 1950's the number one reason physicians lost their license was saying nutrition had anything to do with heart disease or cancer. Return his license and apologize." (Illinois dentist)
  • "I don't agree with placing posterior composites, I do not recommend it on patients. As a health care provider I should be able to say whatever I think if it is evident in my practice." (Michigan prosthodontist)

In defense of the ADA

  • "As a dentist who has not placed an amalgam in about 15 years, I still do not question their effectiveness or safety. It just doesn't fit into my general practice. The ADA doesn't gag anyone. I am an ADA Delegate and officer at several levels, and all they ask is that we be truthful, present all the alternatives to our patients and, above all, do no harm." (Nevada dentist)
  • "I don't know why you want to bash organized dentistry, and the ADA in particular, about the Hanus decision. The Iowa state dental board is not beholden to the ADA and made its decision on the basis of evidence that Dr Hanus behaved in manner that did not comply with the Iowa Dental Practice Act. Let's not try to muddle the issue of Dr Hanus with free speech issues or ADA bashing. I thought this website was above such behavior, and hope that it will return to being a fact-based source of information." (Ohio dentist)
  • "I am an ADA member a hold the organization in high regard. However, the ADA is not the end all. Mercury is a concern and collectively amalgam fillings contribute to ones long term exposure. If their is a reasonable risk then the dentist should be free to discuss this with their patients and alternative restorative materials." (Illinois dentist)

No love lost for the ADA or dental boards

  • "I think that ADA executives who've buried their heads in the sand should have their licenses suspended once the truth comes out." (New Jersey dentist)
  • "Doctors' obligations are to patients needs, not the whims or demands of an organization that purportedly represents the financial needs of dentists." (Arkansas dentist)
  • "Boards are supposed to govern actions not speech… By the way, the ADA doesn't govern licensure. They make recommendations… The A-holes on the board that took this guy's license are DENTISTS. The jerks." (Georgia dentist)

There's nothing wrong with amalgam

  • "I think they are charlatans and no better than snake oil salesmen. Nothing is wrong with amalgam." (Mississippi dentist)
  • "I think they are inexcusably avoiding the FACTS! Amalgam has NO proven side effects. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Dentists should not make unscientific recommendations to patients." (Oregon prosthodontist)
  • "There should be balance in the discussion, not scare tactics. Amalgam has been safely used for 150+ years. There is amalgam in my mouth. It lasts for years, and doesn't exhibit the marginal leakage and recurrent decay rate of posterior composites. But composites continue to improve. In Dr. Hanus's case? He exceeded the scope of his license. Can we revoke his DDS as well? The man is NOT a scientist: he's a hysterical scaremonger! (California endodontist)
  • "Those who speak out against mercury should somehow make it clear that they speak for themselves and not for Dentistry. Dr. Hanus should seek a new pulpit, not a license."
  • "Dentist who tell their patients to remove there amalgam restorations are benefitting from an unfounded fear and should be stripped of their dental licenses." (Colorado dentist)
  • "Dentists are free to avoid materials that they do not like. But there indications for amalgam as there are for most materials and dentists should not be trying to have amalgam eliminated from our armamentarium." (New York pediatric dentist)

On speaking out against amalgam

  • "I know of very few dentists who use amalgam anymore, but we always have to provide disclaimers to patients like 'I don't personally place silver fillings, but they are also a safe choice.' As a former chemist, I don't completely agree with this statement, but I know that casting doubts about amalgam has created problems for other dentists in the past and I don't care to risk my license, so I try to appear as unbiased as possible to patients on this issue." (California dentist)
  • "It should be a non-issue. Amalgam is going away due to market forces related to cosmetics. In another 5 years it will fall all by itself." (Alaska dentist)

How can mercury be both safe and toxic?

  • "More dentists should speak out. Can't everyone see that there are two standards for mercury? It seems that the oral cavity is the only 'safe' place for mercury." (Illinois dentist)
  • "Somebody is not telling the truth about amalgam. It's a biohazard when on my counter but OK in my mouth." (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • "Dentists can speak out all they want; what they cannot do is distort the fact that patients' illnesses will be cured if they replace their amalgam restorations." California dentist

I don't trust this guy…

  • "Is this who you would send your family to?" (Oklahoma pediatric dentist)
  • "He has an O.C. disorder that places him outside the ability make good judgment choices." (Mississippi dentist)

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