An Expectant Mom’s Concern about Getting Dental Work
Renee Jamison, a 37-year-old senior manager at a financial services firm, realized that she was spending most of her non-working time trying to recuperate from the workday. Describing herself as a type-A personality that was driven to succeed in her career, raise a family, and keep physically fit, Renee worked long hours, went to the gym, shopped at the health food store, and tried to spend quality time with her husband. The fact that she was burned out and suffering from fatigue, headaches, and allergies, didn’t stop her from also getting pregnant. Now she has a broken filling and a toothache and needs pregnancy tips for her dental condition.
For the health of the fetus, pregnant women are concerned with which foods to eat or avoid but rarely consider what to avoid putting in the mouth when it comes to dental treatment. Renee had already stopped eating fish because of the mercury warnings that affect fetal neurological development. But she read somewhere that silver fillings contained 50% mercury and now one of the cusps of a molar with a giant amalgam had just fractured. “I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, but I had to do something with this tooth. It was beginning to hurt. My dentist told me that the pain may be a worse stress for the pregnancy and my obstetrician suggested that I get the tooth fixed.
Now, in addition to a clean pregnancy diet, Renee wondered about the safety of getting an x-ray, a local anesthetic, an antibiotic, or pain medication. She knew that a new silver amalgam was out of the question and was relieved that she had the options of composites that were strong, aesthetic, and not toxic. But Renee was understandably concerned about the mercury exposure she and the baby would get from the aerosol of drilling out her large broken mercury-containing filling. “I just felt apprehensive about the whole thing.”
Pregnancy Tips #1: Be Your Own Advocate
Renee was correct in her understanding of the mouth being connected to the rest of the body. It seems like a no-brainer that oral infections, toxic dental materials, tooth pain, and bite imbalances can affect your overall health as well as a developing fetus. A problem is that medical doctors have little to no training in dentistry and dentists aren’t licensed to treat the whole body. So, this makes it necessary to be your own advocate. Surely consult with your obstetrician or primary healthcare provider and then be prepared to research the options, ask your dentist questions, and do what feels the most sensible.
Pregnancy Tips #2: Know You Have Options
- Look for health-focused dentists that are Mercury-Free and Mercury-Safe. Biological holistic dentists understand that proper nourishment, detoxification, and restoration of balance and function is of paramount importance in overall health.
- While a dental x-ray may be necessary for diagnosis, make sure you are protected with lead aprons. Limit the number of x-rays taken and request digital which uses less radiation.
- Addictive pain medications can be avoided many times with homeopathic remedies such as Arnica Montana or others.
- Ask for a biocompatibility blood test of dental materials if you have a concern of immune or allergic reactions.
- Rather than antibiotics – often accompanied with side effects – check if your dentist uses ozone treatments or colloidal silver in tooth or gum treatment. Avoid consuming sugar since many pathogenic organisms thrive on acidic environments created by a diet high in sugar.
- Your dentist who is experienced with treating temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction (TMD or TMJ) can check for stresses on the musculo-skeletal system stemming from tooth and jaw imbalances. Corrections can provide much relief of pain and better sleep.
- Biological or health-conscious dentists work closely with holistic health professionals including functional medicine doctors, environmental physicians, acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, body workers, and other practitioners of natural medicine who recognize that dentistry is essential in achieving and maintaining complete health for both mother and baby. You’re all in it together.
Pregnancy Tips #3: Reduce Your Exposure from Mercury in Dental Amalgam
There are two ways to be exposed to mercury vapor at the dental office. 1) During the placement of new amalgams and 2) the drilling process to remove old dental amalgam. Biological or Holistic Dentists use safety protocols established by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Since these procedures are not taught in dental schools, many dentists do not share the opinion that there is a need for precautions and consequently do not have the equipment in their office necessary for safe mercury removal. Here is a list of things you can do to help protect yourself and your children from mercury exposure.
- Request that all new fillings be mercury-free. Dental amalgam contains 50% mercury. During placement and initial setting, the mercury vapor released is quite high. Composite resins do not contain mercury and are durable, esthetic restorations.
- Take 2 capsules of activated charcoal with a full glass of water at the dental office just prior to your appointed time. If an amalgam needs to be removed, some particles may be swallowed. The charcoal will attract the mercury to excrete through the gut rather than absorb it into your blood stream.
- Open a capsule of organic chlorella and sprinkle the contents under your tongue before drilling. Saliva combines with the pulverized metal particles forming a slurry where the mercury can absorb through the mucous membranes. Chlorella, a green algae that absorbs mercury can then be rinsed from the mouth.
- Protect your clothing, hair, and skin. During the drilling procedure, you can wear a disposable shower cap and protective goggles. Ask your dentist to apply clothing barriers and deliver oxygen through a nasal respirator.
- Take 3000 mg of Vitamin C after your appointment. Vitamin C is a weak chelator for mercury meaning that it can attract the mercury from the blood stream that may have escaped during the drilling and help flush it out of your system. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid taking Vitamin C prior to your appointment because it may interfere with you getting numb.
- Eat meals with high sulfur content. Mercury is attracted to sulfur containing molecules. A perfect meal would be eggs cooked with onions, salsa with fresh garlic and cilantro.
- Take a bath. The skin is the largest organ for detoxification. Pull out toxins with a cup of Epsom salts, ½ cup of baking soda, and the broth of boiled fresh ginger.
While a good pregnancy tip is to have needed dental work after the first trimester, circumstances may not make this possible. Always try to be preventive and have your dental health checked prior to getting pregnant.