Oral Galvanism: How Dental Metal Restorations Can Cause Health Problems
by Dr. Martina Mallery, DDS, AIAOMT
In dentistry, various types of materials are used to restore or replace a damaged tooth. In most cases, these otherwise durable materials are made of metal, and are used for the fabrication of metal crowns, mercury “silver” fillings, orthodontic brackets and retainers, removable partial dentures and titanium implants. However, these metals are not biocompatible as they challenge the immune system and cause hypersensitivities, allergies or autoimmune issues.
Some metals used in dental restorations include chromium, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, titanium, tin and zinc. Amalgam fillings are also composed of mercury which continuously vaporizes, passes through the lungs, and is distributed throughout the body. Mercury is extremely toxic, and has been singled out as a potent neurotoxin that can cause ADD, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, depression, insomnia, irritability, mental instability and anxiety just to name a few conditions.
The awareness of mercury as a toxic contributor to various health issues has slowly but surely become common knowledge. However, a lesser-known phenomenon called oral galvanism is not as obvious to the unsuspecting, but is a culprit of many other symptoms too. In the presence of electrolyte-rich saliva, a battery effect between two or more dissimilar metal dental restorations causes an electrical current known as oral galvanism.
This can lead to various sensations such as metallic or salty taste, burning or tingling of the tongue, increased salivary flow, visible changes to the oral mucosa, occasional nerve shock or nerve sensitivity when touching the restoration with a metal utensil, or generalized discomfort in the mouth which includes trigeminal neuralgia. Moreover, symptoms or ailments can be systemic and affect different organs which leads to pathological changes in the blood, kidneys, and other organs, as well as irritability, poor digestion, and weight loss.
Other systemic complications can include headaches, chronic fatigue, memory loss and sleep deprivation due to oral galvanism’s effect on the central nervous system. This galvanic current has also been shown to increase the release of metal ions which causes a build-up of corrosive products and systemic heavy metal toxicity over time.
This electro-galvanic microcurrent generated by dissimilar dental alloys takes place just inches away from the brain. Just to put this into perspective, the brain operates on seven to nine nano-amps which is 1,000 times weaker than the currents resulting from non-precious metals found in the oral cavity. Adding this much excess of electrical activity has the potential to create misdirected impulses in the brain.
What is the solution then? Metal-free dentistry has gained traction as ceramic, zirconia, and composite resin alternatives are also becoming popular as more biocompatible options—and you should always ask for a metal-free option. However, if you have metal dental restorations in your mouth already, it is imperative to find a biological or holistic dentist who is well-versed in the safe removal of these metal dental restorations.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine both have certification programs that teach dentists specific protocols to keep the patient and staff safe during this removal procedure. Both of these organizations also list providers that have been certified for this protocol. Each state now has a number providers that study and implement these protocols.
Please note that dental schools across the world do not teach biocompatibility of dental materials to any meaningful extent and, therefore, many well-meaning dentists are unaware of systemic toxicity of heavy metals and galvanic electrocurrents which stem from the materials routinely used in dentistry.
Doctor Martina Mallery is an accredited biological dentist practicing at White Sands Dentistry which is located at, 520 48th Street Ct E, Bradenton. For more information, call 941-524-4004 or visit WhiteSandsDentistry.com.