Daniel Vance - Disabilities

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website says that dental amalgam “is the silver-colored material used to fill teeth that have cavities.” The mercury concentration in a silver filling is about 50 percent by weight, the FDA reports, and when you chew food the filling emits a minute amount of mercury vapor.

Currently, the FDA is considering reclassifying dental amalgam to include a warning for people hypersensitive to mercury.

Lora Griffin, of Cave Creek, Arizona, reads this column in The Desert Advocate. She believes she is one of many people hypersensitive to mercury.

“In retrospect, I can look through my entire life and see symptoms,” said 51-year-old Griffin in a telephone interview. “I became incapacitated by a number of symptoms at age 40. I had a whole laundry list, including fatigue, pain, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and I was developing memory problems.”

She went from specialist to specialist, including rheumatologists and neurologists, and not one could diagnose her. Finally, one specialist just “threw his hands up in the air” and diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, she said.

Finally, she could no longer manage her symptoms and felt forced to leave her fulfilling job of 22 years in travel agency management. She had lost her ability to drive.

By chance, she then learned of a naturopathic physician trained in using natural and non-invasive therapies and he suggested the removal of her mouthful of silver fillings. But before considering that expensive procedure, she asked a doctor to test for mercury in her system. The amount was “off the charts,” she said.

“Shortly before I had my fillings removed, I was starting to develop full-blown multiple sclerosis,” she said. “I was stumbling when I walked, had tremors in my hands, and I had slurred speech. After I had the fillings taken out, a lot of those physical symptoms went away. The proof is in the pudding. I got better. I honestly believe I would be in a wheelchair now if I hadn’t had the fillings taken out.”

The worst part of her ordeal, she said, has been dealing with family and friends who don’t believe her symptoms exist. Her husband has stayed with her through everything.

As columnist: I strongly caution readers not to draw any conclusions from one person’s story. Be sure to do your own research, and talk with your dentist.

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