Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

Ways We Can Assess Mercury Burden & Risk from Amalgam & Other Dental Metals

May 23, 2024 | Mercury & Other Heavy Metals

While no one is immune to mercury’s dangers, some people are more vulnerable than others. The FDA guidelines now specify several groups who should avoid “silver” mercury amalgam fillings altogether:

  • Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy.
  • Nursing mothers.
  • Children, especially those younger than 6.
  • People with pre-existing neurological conditions.
  • People with impaired kidney function.
  • People who are allergic or sensitive to any component of amalgam. (The typical amalgam consists of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and zinc.)

Altogether, that makes up about 60% of all Americans. But what about the other 40%?

Even if you’re not in one of those high risk groups, you can still be affected by mercury released from any “silver” amalgam fillings you have. The larger and older those fillings are, the greater the risk.

But how can you know how significant that risk might be? We can test.

The Mercury Tri-Test & What It Shows

The Mercury Tri-Test was developed by Dr. Chris Shade to comprehensively assess a person’s mercury exposure and burden. It delivers much more information than older testing methods that only measure total mercury levels.

This is because different forms of mercury distribute differently in the body. To overcome this, the Tri-Test separates the less toxic inorganic mercury from the more toxic methylmercury and measures each directly. This provides unprecedented insight into a person’s true mercury body burden and toxicity risk.

To take the Tri-Test, you simply provide small samples of hair, blood, and urine. These are then shipped to a special lab for analysis. When we get the results, we can learn

  1. Your sources of exposure (e.g., amalgam fillings or fish consumption).
  2. Your total body burden of each form of mercury.
  3. Your ability to excrete each form.

If the results suggest a burden to be addressed, the next step is a one-week, two-step protocol designed to support heavy metal detox during the amalgam removal process to support your body’s natural detox abilities: Quicksilver Scientific’s MerProtect Protocol.

The MELISA Test & What It Shows

Another type of testing we can do focuses not on body burden but sensitivity to metals such as mercury: the Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay, or MELISA test.

For this test, a sample of your blood is drawn into special tubes containing a substance that prevents clotting and then sent to a lab. White blood cells (lymphocytes) are isolated from the sample, and those are split into a control sample (left unexposed) and test samples that are exposed to different concentrations of the metals, chemicals, or other substances being tested.

After a few days, the lab techs analyze how the various groups of lymphocytes have responded and multiplied. Increased lymphocyte reactions indicate heightened immune sensitivity.

While MELISA can test for sensitivities to a wide range of substances, it’s particularly useful for identifying metal allergies. This includes testing for reactions to metals like nickel and titanium, as well as mercury and the other components of dental amalgam.

Combined with serum biocompatibility testing, this information is invaluable when it comes to choosing dental materials for you, helping ensure that those we use will not cause adverse reactions but are a good match for your individual biochemistry.

Our Comprehensive Biological Approach at Denver Dentistry

As a biological office committed to precision dentistry, we go beyond the standard dental tests and screenings. Advanced tools like the Mercury Tri-Test and MELISA are key to our personalized approach.

These in-depth evaluations don’t just check off boxes; they provide a comprehensive look into each patient’s unique situation when it comes to mercury exposure, bodily mercury levels, ability to detox, and potential metal sensitivities. Having this detailed understanding allows us to create customized treatment plans that factor in every aspect of their individual biology and needs.

It’s an extra step, but one that embodies our commitment to biological dentistry focused on whole-body health – and personal dentistry at its most personalized.

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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