I likely swallowed a fillling in my sleep- is there any danger to my health?
April 15, 2004 8:40 AM   Subscribe

I lost a filling the other day and figure its most likely I swallowed it (in my sleep). Is this likely to present any danger to my health? Will it most likely just be inert and come out in the wash, so to speak? I'm not sure what it was made of, whatever they were putting in UK NHS amalgam 7-8 years ago.
posted by biffa to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Your best bet is to consult the office which performed the original work; there's alerts of NHS fillings which still include mercury.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:53 AM on April 15, 2004

that text combines some sensible comments with some rather way-out ideas, but even if it's true, it only means that you'll be better off with the filling out of your system (it won't be digested and will soon be out of your body). i wouldn't worry...
posted by andrew cooke at 5:10 PM on April 15, 2004

Andrew where do you get this? Mercury is indeed very dangerous. Even the ADA (American Dental Association) admits that mercury is dangerous. They however believe that the levels of mercury released over a lifetime from fillings is not large enough to cause enough physical harm to warrant not using the benefits of mercury. The controvery is, how much mercury in your system is too much. Look, entire countries have outright banned mercury fillings. There are a lot of special interest groups interested in seeing mercury stay legal and it has nothing to do with health they are worried about the lawsuits like what happened to the Tabacco industry. Highly political battle with tons of misinformation out there on all sides. But the fact remains mercury even in small amounts is dangerous so swallowing an entire filling sounds pretty dangerous to me and who says it wont be digested, might get stuck in the intenstines or whatever. At least call someone to check into it.
posted by stbalbach at 8:43 PM on April 15, 2004

From my understanding, mercury in dental fillings is part of a mercury compound (amalgam), and that's really different from straight mercury. For example, if you were to ingest chlorine alone, that would be a serious problem, but mix it with some sodium, and it's table salt.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:02 PM on April 15, 2004

What the hell are you doing? Call a doctor. Jeesh!
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:19 AM on April 16, 2004

The trace amount of metallic mercury in your filling is harmless and as mentioned above will pass through you in a day or so. Methyl mercury and mercury vapor are much more hazardous.
posted by TedW at 8:52 AM on April 16, 2004

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