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livingchoice's avatar

Would you select any of these dental insurance plans?

Asked by livingchoice (553points) July 28th, 2012

I have a few mercury fillings in my mouth that I would like to removed and have them replaced with the non-mercury ones. I just typed in dental insurance in my area in google and clicked on this link. I have no clue on how dental insurances works so I will appreciate every input from my fellow flutherins. Getting the dental coverage from my job might be an option but let’s just say for this question it’s not an option. Or have you had this procedure done done before? Can you let me know how it went, what to expect or watch out for? Thanks!!!

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12 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

@livingchoice, why are you going to have your fillings removed?

livingchoice's avatar

The fillings I currently have are Mercury fillings which slowly releases mercury vapor into the body. Mercury being a heavy metal and can lead to heavy metal poisoning and be the underlining cause of other heath issues.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think the science on the danger of mercury fillings is pretty controversial and divided among experts. But if you feel confident you want to do this, make absolute sure the insurance will cover the costs. I have had dental insurance and it didn’t cover very much in terms of the costs of fillings or extractions. You will be the first person I’ve ever heard of who had their mercury fillings replaced.

Has anyone given you a price on the procedure to do this? I’m also curious, if you don’t mind me asking, if someone is trying to sell you an insurance policy that will cover this?

bkcunningham's avatar

Also, @livingchoice, the link you posted takes me to the home page and not to any specific dental insurance plans.

gailcalled's avatar

Have you gotten more than one opinion. Do you have any health issues related to this? How many mercury fillings do you have?

I also don’t know anyone who has done this. For those of us who grew up with mercury, it seems that we wait until the filling has shrunk, cracked or started to leak, before replacing it.

gasman's avatar

Statement by American Dental Association on metal fillings:

Dental amalgam (metal fillings) has been used by dentists for more than a century and is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use…

Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others, have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material…

snowberry's avatar

”...A range of actions are being taken to reduce mercury levels in products, or to phase out mercury-containing products. In health care, dental amalgam is used in almost all countries. A 2009 WHO expert consultation concluded that a global near-term ban on amalgam would be problematic for public health and the dental health sector, but a phase down should be pursued by promoting disease prevention and alternatives to amalgam; research and development of cost-effective alternatives; education of dental professionals and the raising of public awareness…”

Mercury-free Dental Fillings Phase-out of amalgam in Sweden

[PDF] Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
... & Eaglstein 1985, Fisher 1986) and Japan (Matsunaga et al… Atopic illnesses
and symptoms attributed to amalgam dental fillings, are reported…

[PDF] Microsoft PowerPoint – MERCURY.ppt
... to methyl mercury in fish, mercury vapor from amalgam tooth fillings, and ethyl…
Minamata Bay, Japan Courtesy of Dr. Stephan Boese-ÓReil y…

I’m sure if I spent much time, I could find many more articles about this, but I doubt that even the opinion of WHO (World Health Organization) would be enough to convince the die-hard doctors and other medical types of the dangers of amalgum fillings.

@gasman That amalgam fillings are known to break down over time is a well known fact. I am proof of that, because I’ve had to have several teeth capped due to the fact that they make the teeth brittle (according to my dentist).

@livingchoice I doubt that your health insurance would cover removal of your fillings, unless the dentist determined that they were breaking down and needed to be replaced, or that you had decay under them.

trailsillustrated's avatar

<——is a dentist. Mecury fillings when in the mouth are inert. They release vapour when being manipulated. (Such as, being mixed, placed or removed). Please know that when you remove a restoration, you must adjust and re-drill the preparation for the new restoration. Teeth are living things, somewhat like an oyster. When they are drilled on, they are heated up, and, depending on the depth and how close to the pulp your current amalgam filllings are, you run the risk (may be slight to great) of needing root canal therapy in future. Also, plastic, ceramic, and combinations of these are irritating to the pulp. Hope all this was/is explained to you in your qwest to remove amalgam filllings from your mouth. (ps this is never covered by insurance unless the present restoration is broken or deemed inadequate).

jerv's avatar

That would likely be considered “cosmetic” and most plans do not cover that sort of thing, period.

Personally, I have more than my fair share of those filling myself, and I haven’t had any issues. And since my anecdotal experience is just as valid as @snowberry,‘s it’s a wash. If you are that worried about mercury, then being around fluorescent lights or batteries has caused you more harm than your fillings ever will.

Relax; either you’ll be fine keeping them in, or you’re already half-dead and removing the fillings won’t help.

gasman's avatar

Here’s an informative article by Stephen Barrett, M.D from around 1998 at The ‘Mercury Toxicity’ Scam – How Anti-Amalgamists Swindle People. Excerpts (from a fairly long text):

More than half a century ago, Orson Welles panicked his radio audience by reporting that Martians had invaded New Jersey. On December 23, 1990, CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” achieved a similar effect by announcing that toxins have invaded the American mouth. There was, however, a big difference. Welles’ broadcast was intended to be entertaining. The “60 Minutes” broadcast, narrated by veteran reporter Morley Safer, was intended to alarm—to persuade its audience that the mercury in dental fillings is a poison. It was the most irresponsible report on a health topic ever broadcast on network television…

Very sensitive instruments can detect billionths of a gram of mercury vapor in the mouth of a person with amalgam fillings. However, the minuscule amount of mercury the body absorbs from amalgams is far below the level that exerts any adverse health effect [1–6]. One study found that people with symptoms they related to amalgam fillings did not have significant mercury levels. The study compared ten symptomatic patients and eight patients with no reported health complaints. The symptom group had neither a higher estimated daily uptake of inhaled mercury vapor, nor a higher mercury concentration in blood and urine than in the control group…

Well, you get the idea. Barrett includes a statement he helped write for Consumer Union:

In CU’s view, dentists who purport to treat health problems by ripping out fillings are putting their own economic interests ahead of their patients’ welfare. The false diagnosis of mercury-amalgam toxicity has such harmful potential and shows such poor judgment on the part of the practitioner that CU believes dentists who engage in this practice should have their license revoked [23].

Adagio's avatar

My mother had all her amalgam fillings removed about 20 years ago, she felt it was something she wanted to do, she offered to pay for me to have the same treatment because I have MS and there is the suggestion of a link between amalgam fillings and MS, I decided not to at the time but I have regretted my decision from time to time.

jerv's avatar

@Adagio There is also a suggested link between vaccinations and Autism, but that never stopped me from being immunized. Maybe that is because I was autistic before I had my first filling…

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