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Mercury Amalgam Fillings - Removal & Detoxification

by Catherine M Crawford(more info)

listed in dentistry, originally published in issue 76 - May 2002


My body has been steadily accumulating mercury through amalgam fillings since I was about eight years old. The grand total of fillings was 13, collected over some 38 years. All this time I have been absorbing mercury in ever increasing amounts daily via different routes: chewing food; having hot drinks; breathing in the vapour; swallowing the saliva containing mercury; chewing of gum in my teenage years. Even brushing one's teeth can cause the emission of mercury to increase by five to ten times, with this raised emission continuing for 1-2.5 hours afterwards. Over days, months and years that adds up to a lot of mercury. To alleviate this I used an amalgam blocking toothpaste and, since my symptoms of coldness did decrease to an extent, this did help to reduce the intake. Added to this is the constant leeching of the mercury into the circulatory system, bones and tissues. Mercury poisons all cellular functions and has a significant effect on the enzyme and hormonal systems. Figure 1 shows the proximity of the main facial arteries to the position of teeth, and how easy it is for this poison to move through the body, particularly to the eyes and brain. Removal of fillings only prevents a further increase in the absorption of mercury, so it is vital to follow removals with detoxification specifically for the removal of mercury, otherwise it will remain lodged in the brain and major organs of the body, as well as tissue and skin, and cause further problems.

Figure 1: Main facial arteries

At the age of 46, the seemingly unrelated symptoms steadily worsened to a level that I believe would have become life-threatening in the immediate future. Apart from the symptoms discussed later, I was finding it increasingly difficult to continue from day to day. It was as if all my systems were coming to a halt at an alarming speed. I had almost closed my practice, which had already been reduced due to parental illness the previous year. Now it seems silly not to have done something sooner, but I had approached doctors and dentists and been told there was nothing wrong, and 'to pull myself together'. This left me not knowing where to turn. However, having read articles and books, and realizing that my life was deteriorating rapidly, I knew I had to do something quickly and found a sympathetic dental practice in Edinburgh. My initial appointment was in April to assess the treatment required. We agreed on removals in four sessions over six weeks. This allows the body time to adjust and clear any further release that may occur during removal but also means that the fillings are removed fairly swiftly and the detoxification process can begin properly. The removals were set for September/October. Despite having to wait all this time, it was good to know that something would be done. It was also a relief to meet someone who knew exactly what was wrong – I had gone there armed with copies of articles and reasons for the removals, and for once I had no need of them. I was talking to someone knowledgeable both of the havoc mercury can create in the body and also of the safety procedures required for such removals, which inspires great confidence.


The following symptoms were experienced throughout my teenage years and adult life to different degrees. I tried to alleviate them using essential oils, herbal and homeopathic remedies and diet, but these stood little chance in the face of such toxicity. I found a small amount of relief initially with some, but this did not last, presumably due to the increasing mercury in my system. The inability of such remedies to help also led me to realize just how widespread the problem was. It is interesting to note that since the removals I have used remedies and their effect has been good.


The inside of my mouth was aggravated by the mercury. I would find myself biting the skin to such an extent that it would be torn, sore and inflamed. I would be fine until early afternoon and then I would find myself suddenly tearing at the inside of my mouth with my teeth as if something had to be released or removed. Sometimes I managed to prevent this with a lot of willpower, but it was something beyond my control. Amazingly, my body would have worked all night to repair the damage and the skin would be perfectly smooth the next morning. My gums looked pale and unhealthy and bled when I brushed them, and my teeth sometimes felt loose. The teeth did not really feel like part of me – they were separated by this toxic barrier. I was always aware of the fillings.


My eyes have become increasingly light sensitive and easily tired. Over the past two years I have had the help of a vision therapist, and we have worked to improve my vision through exercises, palming and the use of eye patches to allow the eyes to work individually as well as together. But again this had limited effect since the cause was not being addressed.


The main problem was when descending in an aeroplane. I would suffer excruciating pain along my jaw and up to my ears and temples. My head felt as if it would split. I just sat in dreadful pain with tears pouring down my cheeks. Some pain would continue for several hours and I would feel unwell for two or three days after. Not surprisingly, I had decided that I never wanted to fly again after the most recent occasion. I also had recurrent bouts of piercing pain but with no evidence of infection. As my mother has had problems with her ears, I thought perhaps this was hereditary.


Over the past three years I have had small cuts inside my nose which would not heal and became infected on several occasions. The inflammation did clear from using tea tree and neem oils, but not the cuts, and I often felt as if I were getting flu.


In my mid-teens these became extremely heavy with a lot of clotting. In my 20s and 30s they were not so heavy but later again became heavy with increased clotting, cramps, fluid retention and mood swings. They were increasing to twice monthly but I managed to regulate them using a blend of essential oils, so in this case the oils did manage to break through the mercury blockade. Periods have become worse in recent years: very heavy with clotting, 6-7 days' duration, mood changes beforehand, headaches, feelings of not being able to cope and fluid retention for 14 days prior combined with breast tenderness and sometimes sharp pains. There was very sharp, intense cramping always only on the right-hand side on the first day and night of the period, followed by more general cramping plus lower back pain. The whole process was rapidly affecting not just the duration of the period, but the weeks on either side, and also my relationships with my husband and daughter because of the effect on my health.


This began three years ago and always occurred at the start of the period and lasted for one day. It was so painful that I had to take painkillers during the day and before going to bed and I would feel tired and unwell the following day (perhaps due to the painkillers).


As a schoolgirl I suffered from very painful chilblains every autumn through to Easter and I would become chilled waiting for the bus to and from school. My feet would be numb during gym class (we had to do this in bare feet on cold wooden floors) and it was painful to walk. The doctor suggested an operation but thankfully we declined this. Since then, the coldness in my body has increased, seeming to come from within, from the marrow of my bones and especially down my spine. My temperature control was either one extreme or the other and I disliked change – of temperature and of surroundings. Five years ago, I was diagnosed as having Reynaud's disease, as my fingers and toes and the balls of my feet would easily become numb, white and painful, and take a long time to warm up. I had to wear thick bed socks and have a hot bottle at my back and double covers, but still I never felt really warm from within. In the daytime I wore thermal vests, layers and socks, but my feet still became numb, even in the house. I dreaded autumn, winter and spring, but also going on holiday to a warm climate as I would overheat. The problem of excessive sweating which began in my teens continued and was more of a nuisance than a physical hardship – finding the most suitable clothes' styles and fabrics to avoid staining. In desperation I used a very strong antiperspirant once and it resulted in my being very ill for several days, with lumping under my armpits. I preferred to change my tops at least twice or more daily if necessary.


This became noticeable when I was in my 20s and was working in offices. I had difficulty getting going in the morning. I was never late for work but it took a great effort to get up; some mornings would be much worse than others but I could never work out the reason. My doctor thought I was just lazy. I did not want an excuse to stay off work; I needed to find out the cause so that I could remedy it. I had the energy to attend night classes and to complete a full day's work, but at that time it was in the morning that I felt unwell. Our daughter was born 16 years ago. The birth lasted 12 hours and forceps were required, so afterwards I was badly bruised internally and in great pain but also very tired. I fed Jane myself for nine months so any fatigue then was put down to feeding during the day and often at night. I expected to feel an improvement as the years went on, but this did not happen. Tests have been carried out on a couple of occasions, but these proved negative and no helpful advice was given. I felt like a hypochondriac and was treated like one.

Having to get up at 6.45 am to ensure Jane got to school on time has kept me going. I am not sure that I would have had the determination to do that otherwise. Once I had my first shot of mercury via a hot mug of tea or two, I would feel much better. I altered my diet and became vegetarian over ten years ago to try to solve the mystery. No matter what I included or excluded there was no pattern emerging. Last year my energy levels became seriously low, which prompted me to find a mercury-free dentist. I was so exhausted all the time, to a point where resting for half an hour or even longer made no difference. There was no way to replenish the energy I was losing. This affected my spirit and I felt very light and not of this world at times, which was frightening. My thoughts were negative and I was reducing what I did rather than looking to expand my business and to the future ahead. I could see no future.


Over the past three years I noticed that I was finding it more difficult to take in information and to remember it. My brain seemed to be at capacity, or as if it were jammed. I began to notice slurring of speech and difficulty in finding words, which soon became a daily occurrence. We joked about it, but I was aware of how serious a problem this could be. Tingling in my fingers and a slight numbness in the arms occurred on several occasions. I was anxious that these symptoms might indicate multiple sclerosis or a similar disease, but I also knew it was the mercury fillings that were causing them. My fear was of my daughter having to visit a mother of 50-60 years old who was unable to communicate or recognizse her and for this to continue for many years instead of the close friendship we enjoy.

Mood Swings

Mood changes were outside my control. I would have planned to spend a morning with my husband and to have anticipated this all week only to feel on the day that that was the last thing I wanted to do and there was no way to change this. I would be stuck in that mind-set the whole day. It spoilt so many occasions. I always felt that it was like someone else doing it and deep down I did not want to be grumpy and bad company. There was anger inside, dissatisfaction with my life, with myself. I could see no logical reason for these feelings when I looked at them objectively, so why did I continue to feel and act like this? It wasn't the real me.

All these symptoms could possibly be coped with singly, but together they engulfed me. On several occasions I felt that my husband and daughter would be better off if I were not living with them. They would not have had to put up with the fallout and the negative energy I must have been exuding. When giving treatments, I blocked out all the symptoms. I was totally committed to giving the best treatment I could and my concentration was centred on the client. My standards remained consistent and I am confident that no clients received lesser treatments at any point during this time. If I could not have maintained this, I would have closed In Harmony at once.

The Removal Process

The initial consultation with my dentist was to assess the level of leeching of the mercury and the state of the teeth, and plan a removal programme and the preventative measures both in the surgery and through supplements. We decided on four sessions at fortnightly intervals: three on the upper left, four on the lower left, three on the upper right and finally three on the lower right (see Figure 2). The gap between sessions allows the body to clear any mercury that may be absorbed during the extraction process despite the precautions taken. Any trauma to the gums has time to settle.

Figure 2: Fillings removed in four sessions

The sessions lasted two hours each. The extractions were fairly quick due to the drill, which allows chunks of filling to be removed, thereby reducing mercury particles. Any stray pieces in the mouth are easier to see and remove. A suction tube remains in the mouth during the extractions, removing mercury and saliva; a rubber dam around the teeth helps to prevent absorption during drilling; a protective nose mask reduces inhalation of mercury dust and vapour; goggles protect the eyes; a protective apron covers the body from neck to toe; an extraction fan removes air which may contain mercury particles and vapour, to protect the patient, dentist and staff, and further patients. The dentist herself wore a protective mask. I required extra local anaesthetic on two occasions to ensure total numbness of the areas. There should be no pain whatsoever. The numbness took a few hours to disappear, but two doses of Arnica tablets taken orally and Arnica cream massaged into the cheek area resulted in very little bruising. I also massaged the gum gently and washed out my mouth with chamomile tea regularly to soothe the gums, cheeks and teeth. The tea helped to calm my whole body and aid the healing process.

The refilling of the cavities is carried out once all traces of the mercury fillings have been removed. There was decay under almost all my fillings, which would have gone undetected until it became so bad that I needed them removed. The filling of the cavities requires skill and precision, as do the removals. The material used is a non-toxic composite, which is compatible with the teeth and has the added bonus of looking good. The cosmetic effect of white fillings should not be underestimated. I have admiration for my dentist who carried out the procedures with immense care and concentration over each two-hour session. The effect on my health and life cannot be calculated and I owe her so much.

Detoxification Programme

Prior to the Treatments

I took Essiac daily for three months, a herbal blend of burdock root, turkey rhubarb root, sheep sorrel and slippery elm bark. It rids the body of metabolic wastes, increases cellular metabolism by normalizing blood chemistry and rebuilds the immune system. This was to boost my body's systems so that once the mercury amalgam was removed I could go straight into the cleansing tonics to clear the major organs of the mercury. On the day of removals I took charcoal tablets before and after to absorb the mercury and expel it from the body. Selenium and zinc are used up quickly by the body when dealing with heavy metals, so daily supplements were recommended: selenium 100mcg and zinc 15-20mg.

Catherine Crawford – post removal

the Treatments

After all the removals are completed, cleansing of the vital organs must follow. One cleansing tonic should be used at a time. This process should be undertaken consistently to ensure success, particularly with the colon cleanse parts 1 and 2. These help to clear old faecal matter, allowing for easy removal, aid regular evacuation, and draw out poisons, toxins and heavy metals. It can seem awkward and unpleasant to keep to the programme at times, but the benefits are too great to abandon it. The daily amounts are small so that the body is not overloaded by the detoxification process and no healing crisis should occur. I have had a minor recurrence of some of the symptoms during the cleansing, but these have passed quickly. The other cleanses that followed were:

* Liver and gall bladder cleanse: dandelion root, cinnamon bark, liquorice, juniper berries, cardamom, bearberry leaf, cloves, ginger, milk thistle, Oregon grape root, Swedish bitters and colloidal silver. Freshly squeezed organic orange juice precedes the cleanse each morning;
* Kidney cleanse (preceded by fresh organic lemon juice): corn silk, bearberry leaf, dandelion, horsetail, burdock root, goldenrod, juniper berries and colloidal silver;
* Blood cleanse: red clover, chapparal, garlic, burdock root, gotu kola, cayenne, Echinacea, cat's claw, gingko biloba, horsetail, poke root and colloidal silver;
* Brain tonic: gingko biloba, gotu kola, calamus root, rosemary, kola nut, cayenne and colloidal silver.

All these herbs help to cleanse the systems of the body while aiding the healing process. These cleansing tonics should ideally be taken in rotation throughout the year to cleanse the body of pollutants as well as poisons such as mercury. The courses last two to four weeks.


I continued my vegetarian diet, including neem tea and kombucha tea, which both aid the immune system and detoxify the body. Energized water (two litres daily) is necessary to flush the toxins and wastes out of the body while hydrating it. It is easier to continue a well-established habit than to try to cope with several changes at once. There is much more likelihood of success without a healing crisis.

Mercury had been in my body for so long that I thought it would take months for any improvements to show. After just the first removals I felt much lighter, more positive and less tired. These changes continued, improving with each session. The difference made by removing just three fillings demonstrates the amount of mercury leaking into my body daily.

All of the symptoms listed above have been reduced or removed. I now have more energy and if I do become tired a short rest revives me. I wake up looking forward to the day ahead and have a positive outlook; I feel grounded; my eyes are less light sensitive and stronger; I have started up my business with new and existing clients and extended my product range; I can control my mood, so we have had many enjoyable occasions since October; slurring of speech and loss for words are improving; my brain feels clearer and does not race. We flew to Dublin for a few days and I was amazed to feel no pain at all when landing – it was marvellous. Period-related problems have greatly decreased – less fluid retention, lighter and shorter, very mild sciatica, mild headache, only slight grumpiness. Excess sweating has ceased. My body temperature has risen so I no longer feel cold in my bones – I feel constantly warm and have no need of bed socks and layers of thermal vests. I only experience numbness in one finger occasionally and it warms up quickly. Any coldness I may feel when outside seems external and easily dealt with. There has been no recurrence of tingling fingers or numbness of arms. The gums look pink and do not bleed; my teeth feel part of me. Of great interest to me is the regeneration of the tissue of my upper and lower lips, which has filled out. My facial skin has a pink glow even without make-up and the shadows under my eyes are now pink/brown not almost black as before. The cuts inside my nose healed up and have recurred only once. A fungal infection under my little toenail has totally cleared now and a new nail has grown up slowly. The best improvement is that I can enjoy life and look forward to the future and I know I am much more pleasant company now.



The Battle for Mercury Free Dentistry

Sandy Duffy and The American Civil Liberties Union Knock Out The Oregon Gag Rule!!

It's the beginning of the end of the American Dental Association (ADA) gag rule.
     Portland lawyer Sandra Duffy, Oregon director for Consumers for Dental Choice, recognized that the Oregon dental board policy of enforcing the ADA gag rule on dentists criticizing mercury fillings violates the free speech rights of dentists. Accordingly, in December 2001, she enlisted the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation's champion on the First Amendment, to battle the policy.
     The ACLU, through Portland lawyers Michael Simon and Julia Markley working pro bono, wrote a letter to the Attorney General of Oregon in February saying the dental board had 30 days to rescind its policy adopted back in 1990. In that year, the Oregon dental board adopted the ADA policy aimed at gagging dentists from telling patients and the public about the health effects of mercury fillings – known, deceptively, as 'silver' amalgam.
     The board maintained that policy despite the huge body of science showing the ADA to be wrong.
     The office of Attorney General Hardy Myers responded promptly, getting the matter on the Board agenda on March 8 2002. Immediately, Mary Ann Newell organized a large number of consumers and health practitioners to attend, and Sandy put together a presentation to make to the dental board. On that date, the state's largest newspaper, the Oregonian, ran a front-page story about the dental board denying dentists their free speech rights. The board, used to having its meetings with only dental lobbyists present, was astounded to see 40 people in its tiny meeting room, told Sandy Duffy no one could speak. She, of course, insisted that everyone have her or his say.
     The board – faced with an aware press, legal advice against them, and an aroused citizenry – repealed the ADA gag rule.
     Since that meeting, Sandy Duffy and I have met with Jann Carson, assistant executive director of the ACLU, about pushing this issue with ACLU
chapters around the nation. We commend the ACLU – remember, a champion of civil liberties for ALL of us.
     The ADA gag rule is on its way to the dustbins of history. It is gone in California, after our yearlong battle out there led by Anita Tibau.
     It is now gone in Oregon. It failed to re-start in Florida, thanks to Julie Hilton and BJ West. And it has no leg to stand on anywhere. Any dental board who tries to enforce it is violating the First Amendment!
     I urge dentists to start talking about mercury amalgam – the scientific studies, the manufacturer warnings, the Health Canada report, the fact that it's not silver, the vapours emanating continually to children's brain. We need you to advise, advocate, and advertise the truth. And now, thanks to Sandy Duffy and the ACLU, it's increasingly clear you have the United States Constitution on your side!

Charles Brown


Further Reading

Amalgam Blocker Toothpaste, Best Care Products Ltd, 73 Gardenwood Road, East Grinstead, RH19 1RX.
Bartholomew Alick. Kombucha Tea. Gateway Books. Bath. ISBN 1-85860-049-9. 2001.
Batholomew Alick. Kombucha tea. Positive Health. 32. Sept 1998.
Bennison Andrew. Selenium and mercury detoxification. Positive Health. 44. Sept 1999.
Burrows Kerry. My story – mercury amalgam filling removal. Positive Health. 45. October 1999.
Chaitow Leon. Clear Body Clear Mind. Unwin Paperbacks. ISBN 0-04-440537-5. 1990.
Clayton Pam. Toxic Tooth Talk. Available through her helpline:; Tel/Fax: 01933 653339;
Dannheisser Ilana and Edwards Penny. Homeopathy: An Illustrated Guide. ISBN 1-86204-168-7. Element Books. 1998.
Davies Stephen and Stewart Alan. Nutritional Medicine. Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-28833-4. 1987.
De Vries Jan. The Five Senses. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1-85158-953-8. 1997.
Fretwell Andrew. The Forgotten Poison. SPNT News. Summer 2000.
Holford Patrick. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. Piatkus. ISBN 0-7499-1855-1. 1998.
Huggins Hal A. Amalgam: It's All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness. Avery Publishing Group. 1993.
McMinn Robert MH, Hutchings RT, Pegington John and Abrahams Peter H. A Colour Atlas of Human Anatomy. 3rd ed. Wolfe. ISBN 0-7234-1718-0. 1993.
Munro-Hall Graeme and Munro-Hall Lillian. Mercury-free dentistry – a passport to better health. Positive Health. 43. August 1999.
Sandifer John. The 10-Day Re-Balance Programme. Random House UK Ltd. ISBN 0-7126-71366. 1997
Whitehead Grahame. Living Water. Positive Health. 50. March 2000. Grahame Whitehead can be contacted at Harmonik Ireland, 8 Kilmacrannell, Castlebalfour, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, BT92 0HH. Tel: 028 677 22902.
Windham Bernie. The dangers of dental amalgam fillings. Positive Health. 45. Oct 1999.


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About Catherine M Crawford

Catherine graduated from the London School of Aromatherapy in 1995 has run her small but successful practice for over six years. She has a Diploma in Nutritional Medicine and has attended workshops in reflexology, homeopathy, bodywork and aromatherapy. An extension to her practice is the Pure Purple Product line of lotions, gels, creams, balms and lip glosses. She can be reached on Fax: 0131 662 9933;;

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