Dr. Mark A.
This article first appeared on page A 15 of the Hartford Courant on
June 25, 1999
The State of Connecticut does not believe in the
First Amendment for dentists--that they have the right
to free speech. Further, the state doesn't believe that
patients should have freedom of choice to make decisions
Connecticut considers mercury so toxic that if a
thermometer breaks in a classroom, it must be evacuated.
But somehow the state believes that that same mercury is
safe when placed in your mouth. The so-called
"silver" amalgam filling in teeth is 50
percent mercury. The American Dental Association, a
dental trade union, claims that because mercury has been
used in fillings for more than a century it must be
safe. The ADA refuses to acknowledge numerous scientific
studies suggesting a potential hazard to patients. I
want my patients to know this, but according to the
state, this constitutes "deception and fraud."
On June 30, I have a hearing before the state Department
of Health and Addiction Services.
Studies have proved that mercury from fillings goes
to tissues and organs--and a University of Calgary
Medical School study on sheep has shown that mercury
passes the placental barrier and goes directly to the
fetus. Another study at the University of Kentucky
Medical School, exposed rats to mercury vapor at the
same concentration as humans receive from fillings. The
changes in the rat brain were the same as those found in
an Alzheimer's victim's brain. This is worrisome because
other studies show the amount of mercury in a brain at
autopsy directly relates to the number of mercury
fillings. Yet the ADA and the state claim that fillings
are safe. If so, why does the scrap amalgam removed from
a patient's mouth have to be given to a hazardous-waste
company for disposal?
Very simply, I want my patients to know about the
possible risks associated with "silver"
fillings. I believe I have both the right and obligation
to tell them what I've observed over 20 years in
patients who have chosen to have these fillings removed.
However, this has upset the Connecticut State Dental
Association, which has lodged complaints with the state
Department of Health. The DOH has tried to have me sign
a consent order.
In signing, I would agree not to speak, teach or
write on my beliefs, studies, observations and
experiences, not only to my patients but to anyone. This
is tantamount to giving up my right to free speech.
Also, the DOH would have me agree to take away my
patients' freedom of choice by having me refuse to
remove their amalgams (fillings) if so requested by
Because refusal to sign meant having the matter
turned over to a biased commission, I felt lots of
pressure to give in. The dental commission is a panel of
ADA members who agree to abide by association positions
and would thus be inclined to revoke my license.
Consumers for Dental Choice, a coalition of
organizations, petitioned all 50 states to not prosecute
dentists who take a stand on the dangers of amalgam.
Unlike some states,
both the Connecticut Department of Health and the ADA
ignored the petition. If it is a state's desire to
protect the public, I am in full accord. This, I have
offered to have all my current and new patients sign a
form from the state that notes that the state and the
ADA believe amalgams are safe and not related to
systemic health problems. Patients would also sign
informed consent forms prepared by the state.
Now I am engaged in a fight to protect my rights to
earn a living, speak the truth freely without fear of
retribution and to treat my patients as they desire to
be treated after they have been fully informed.
This article first appeared on page A 15 of the
Hartford Courant on June 25, 1999.
Mark A. Breiner D.D.S. is a dentist in Orange, CT and
co-founder of The Center for the Healing Arts.