The State of Dentistry in Virginia

February 2004

This is a quick note to Virginia legislators who may be looking at this website. DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome) in Virginia has been trying to interest Virginia legislators in passing a Dental Informed Consent Bill. We are very blessed to have Senator Yvonne B. Miller, D-Norfolk to step up to the plate and introduce SB187 "Board of Dentistry regulations on dental amalgams containing mercury."

We now ask the state legislators to take a look at a serious health problem in Virginia concerning dental mercury used in dental fillings and pass legislation that would allow Virginians to have a choice.

As I have talked to people at the polls, malls, churches, banks, and grocery stores, I have met Moms who have taken their children to pediatric dentists thinking they are getting the best dental care for their children. When I ask them what kind of fillings the dentist put in their child's mouth, they reply, "I don't know." When the Mom and I look into the child's mouth, we see the bright shiny "silver" fillings in there.

A strange look comes over the mother's face and she goes into shock when I tell her that those fillings contain mercury. I go on to tell the Mom that I have mercury in my brain because I have been poisoned by my dental fillings, and I encourage her to find another dentist that will be mercury free and not put any more mercury fillings in her child's teeth.

This is not an isolated event. It is happening all over the state because dentists are not required to inform patients as to the content of the dental fillings.

Who is helping people of Virginia who are trusting their dentists to know what they are doing? Who is out there to protect the unsuspecting parent who takes their child to their local dentist expecting to receive safe dental care?

No one. The American Dental Association is not protecting the public and neither is the FDA. The FDA should protect us but they don't. Amalgam fillings have never been tested by the FDA as safe. They have been "grandfathered into use."

In a 1995 civil lawsuit claiming injuries from dental amalgams, filed in Santa Clara, CA., one of the defendants named was the ADA. In a legal brief filed with the court, attorneys for the ADA made the following argument:

The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentists. The ADA did not manufacture, supply or install the mercury- containing amalgams. The ADA does not control those who do. The ADA's only alleged involvement in the product was to provide information regarding its use. Dissemination of information relating to the practice of dentistry does not create a duty of care to protect the public from potential injury.1
The court agreed with the ADA and dismissed it from the case.

The Virginia Dental Association is not protecting the public from dental mercury because they adopt the standards of the ADA. The ADA states that it is unethical for a dentist to say that amalgam fillings are toxic. The Board of Dentistry is not protecting the public from dental mercury, though they are doing a good job of suspending the licenses of those who sexually abuse their patients or abuse or dispense illegal drugs. One can read the disciplinary hearings of dentists on the Board of Health Professionals' website.

In fact the Board of Dentistry is helping to cover up the fact that dentists are still placing mercury in people's teeth. In 2003 they disciplined three dentists that I know of. One husband and wife team from Crozet, Virginia was fined $500 each after they had paid out $12,000 in legal fees to try to beat the charges against them. They were fined because these dentists advertised in the Charlottesville newspaper that amalgam fillings would crack the teeth and they would cause more expensive dental work to have to be done later on, and they leaked toxic amounts of mercury into the bloodstream causing illnesses.

Another dentist from Williamsburg was recently fined $1000 because he advertised in a Williamsburg newspaper that he practiced "Natural Dental Care." This is a synonym for practicing mercury free dentistry with a focus on using materials that are biocompatible with the body. This dentist knows what he is doing and he safely knows how to remove mercury fillings without poisoning patients, but if a dentist advertises anything that would draw attention to the fact that he is different from most dentists, he is fined for making "claims of superiority." Code of Virginia Section 54.1-2706(A)(7).

The children in Roanoke, Virginia are definitely not being protected from toxic dentistry. I did a telephone survey of all the dentists listed in the Roanoke yellow pages in October 2003. I talked to receptionists and office managers for the dentist's offices. I asked them if their dentist was mercury-free. I found that EVERY pediatric dentist that advertised in the Roanoke phone yellow pages used mercury in children's teeth! This was not a scientific survey, as I only depended upon what the dentist's office workers told me. If at any time a mercury free pediatric dentist does start practicing in Roanoke, if someone will contact me, I will refer patients to him.

I found great ignorance in the Roanoke dentists' offices. When I told the office workers I was looking for a mercury free dentist, I would often hear "What?" like they didn't know what I was talking about. Sometimes the receptionist would say,"I don't know. Let me go ask." Then she would return and say something stupid like, "We still use amalgam, but our amalgam doesn't have mercury in it anymore." Another receptionist told me that the amalgam they used had a "safe" level of mercury in it.

That is the ignorant comments coming from dentists' offices when patients inquire. So if an uninformed consumer would ask "Is your dentist mercury free?" and the patient does not know that amalgam is actually 50% mercury, then they could be fooled into believing that a substance called amalgam is being placed in their mouths and it does not contain mercury. Isn't misinforming the public illegal? I told this receptionist she had better look up the word amalgam in the dictionary because she would find that it does contain mercury.

So the least that Virginia legislators could do is to allow the public the right to CHOOSE the dental materials used in their mouths. The informed consent bill needs to include the symptoms that mercury can cause to the body. An informed consent bill without the dangers of the mercury is useless, because many people sign the Informed consent for flu vaccines that states it contains mercury, and just go ahead and let doctors shoot 25 micrograms of mercury into their bodies. The Informed Consent that I read at the Lewis Gale Clinic several years ago stated that the vaccine contained mercury, but did not adequately inform persons about the symptoms mercury could cause in the body.

People are being deceived by the state of dentistry in Virginia. The dentists call the fillings "silver" though they only contain around 25% silver and 50% mercury. And when the dentists call them amalgam, people don't know what amalgam is. As Senator Michaud of Maine said in his speech before the Government Reform Committee on May 8, 2003, "The need for action in Maine was apparent. Mercury fillings were promoted as "silver," even though they have almost twice as much mercury as silver. I wanted to stop this market place deception, and, if you will, call a spade a spade. Thus, my bill calls the fillings "mercury dental amalgam," and we insisted that both the poster and the cover of the brochure say exactly that."2

People are also not being protected by the legal system if they are poisoned. I filed a lawsuit pro se against my local dentist, but was unable to continue with the case because I could not find a lawyer to take my case. In order to sue my dentist for malpractice, he 1) must have injured me, and 2) he must have violated the Standards of Care in dentistry. Even though he did injure me by exposing me to mercury vapor, he didn't violate the Standards of Care in dentistry, because the Standards are so low, he didn't violate them. Dentists are not required to protect patients from mercury vapor by using a) proper ventilation in the office, b) respiratory protection over the nose of the patient to keep him from breathing vapor, c) a dental dam to keep patients from swallowing drilled out fillings, d) a high suction device in the mouth to suck up amalgam vapors, or e) referrals to doctors who know how to detox patients from mercury exposure and offer supplements to prepare the body for mercury removal.

So the dental patients in Virginia are getting the royal medical and legal shaft. They don't know because they are not told. They are not told because the news media is reluctant to report any thing against professionals. Mercury free dentists are disciplined by the dental board if they tell, So patients receive dental work without their FULL INFORMED CONSENT, and if they get poisoned, they have to search for years sometimes to find out what is wrong with them as mainstream doctors do not understand mercury toxicity from dental fillings. And if they are poisoned, the Code of Virginia prevents them from suing because the dentists do not violate the standards of care when they poison citizens.

Unless the Virginia General Assembly passes an adequate bill(s) to protect dental consumers, people will continue to have mercury placed in their mouths WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, and people will continue to be mercury poisoned from the practices of a substandard dental industry.

Dentists who do understand the biocompatibility of dental materials and how to safely remove mercury fillings, receive their education from alternative dental organizations other than the ADA AFTER they get out of dental school. One such organization that is helping to raise the standards in dentistry is the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology at Isn't it a shame a dentists can go through years at the dental school in Virginia and not know how to practice safe dentistry?

1 (W.H. Tolhurst vs. Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products, Inc. : Engelhard Corp.: ABE Dental Inc.: The American Dental Association, et al. In the Superior Court of the State of California, In and For the County of Santa Clara, Case No. 718228)
2 Maine passed a dental informed consent law in 2001 that includes posters in the dentist's offices and a patient brochure on dental materials. http:// Pub351-400-72.htm#P11191_797452

Senator Michaud Testimony

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