Glad to see your post and I will do the best to convey any info I have that will relate. I am 6 months pregnant and have been concerned over the possible impact my 11 amalgams that are 6 years old could have on my baby.
Unfortunately the studies in this specific situation are very few. I've read some things about the effects on fetal development but the three studies I found had to do with consumption of highly toxic fish or environmental exposure.
I found one study about a female dentist who had elevated levels of mercury in her urine. She left her job and became pregnant 8 months later. After delivery her breast milk did contain mercury (It does not say if she breast fed) but the baby's urine levels were normal and at age 2 the child was "clinically healthy"
My opinion (I am only a mom-2-be with the same concerns as you) is that you have to have your tooth repaired because although you will get a surge of exposure during treatment a tooth left untreated would "leak" more..this is only my opinion.
I'm not sure if your current dentist is a mercury-free one but from what I've read on these posts and on my own amalgam repair is touchy business and that may be a consideration for you.
Just as I've been told..this is a very good thing to become educated about, whether you are pregnant now or will be soon. There are so many variables..number of amalgams, length of exposure, gum chewing, mercury-contaminated fish consumption, some vaccines, environmental or work-exposure..but I would say that by limiting your exposure for the remainder of your pregnancy you will balance any possible negative effects.
Anyone who has mercury-silver fillings is getting exposed to mercury vapor. However, the reaction to this vapor can be different for so many people. It depends on how many you have, the type of amalgam, how long you have had them in your mouth, and how sensitive you are to these materials etc. So hopefully, you only have a few mercury-silver dental amalgams for a relatively short period, and the toxic impact will not be as severe. For some people, it apparently is not that big of a deal (say if they had only a couple of fillings). For other people, like myself, it was a big deal - but I was gradually getting worse over the years with the fibromyalgia symptoms etc. The mercury accumulates. If you don't have FM symptoms, loose teeth, and gum disease, it would be a guess that the small exposure to mercury is probably not causing you significant problems - at least not right now - because you are not showing immediate reactions to it. I must reiterate that that's my guess...as only a qualified medical professional would be the one to evaluate this properly for you (as I'm sure that you know).
Your second question.... Would such exposure cause birth defects? I hope not in your case, but I really don't know. There's so much being studied about this all the time. I think the best thing is do continue to read up on the "latest and greatest".
It's interesting to hear you say that you are grinding your teeth. If you grind the mercury filling a lot, that will promote more mercury to be released. They know that more mercury is being released when a person chews their food, for example.
I can relate somewhat to what you have written. So, I can state this from personal experience. When my tooth broke and exposed a dental amalgam, my muscle pains increased. My headaches became intense - like never before. Apparently the additional exposure to this mercury put me "over the edge". This was one of the ways that I linked my illness to my dental amalgams. I had them removed almost 10 years ago. I'm feeling better all the time. Now, instead of just running nearly 20 miles a week, I'm starting to "speed run" during these long distances. In 1978 a doctor told me to not run more than a hundred yards. It was years of suffering that I endured...and years for me to feel better after the dental amalgam removal. Mercury is extremely difficult to remove. Getting rid of the mercury source is only the start. Detoxification of the substance from the rest of your body is the next step.
Again, I want to reassure you, that if your exposure is relatively small, you probably are OK. I wouldn't want people to overeact to their situation, just because of my or other people's reactions. There are just to many variables...and everyone is different. I would just read more about it, and then make slow, well-informed, and methodical steps to correct the situation, as you feel is appropriate. Hopefully, you have a good doctor that can help you too.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask me. There's so much to learn about this. Even though I know a lot about it, there's so much much more. I read new data about this all the time. It's fascinating. More evidence is pointing to the dangers of mercury - even in the smallest amounts. It's good to hear that more of you are questioning this...trying to find answers.
I agree with everyone and especially rhody, 100%. Rhody knows from personal experience what the horrible effects of mercury poisoning can do to the human body. I can add a few things that might be of help, or interest. I've been researching dental materials and procedures for the past 6-8 months because I need a complete dental revision which includes detoxing of mercury and many other toxic metals that are used in dentistry.
I would really encourage you to make sure the dentist uses a rubber damn to isolate the tooth that the amalgam filling will be removed from. This is so important for any of us who is having a amalgam filling removed. It will help you with not breathing any more mercury vapor than you have to. And also keeping you from swallowing any pieces of amalgam. I almost had that happen one time and the dentist acted like it was no big deal. It was to me! You see, there are still so many dentists today that believe the ADA's position that mercury amalgam is perfectly safe. There is of course the other side of the story!From my research I've learned that the ADA must maintain that position for liability reasons. Can you imagine the lawsuits if they changed their position and admitted the truth? All anyone needs to do is research the history of dentistry and the origin of mercury amalgam, and all the research that was done around the turn of the century. Also some recent research as well. The answers are out there. Some in books and some via the internet.
You might already know this, but if it were me, I'd ask the dentist if he/she is going to use a rubber damn while drilling on your tooth? The rubber damn will help keep you from swallowing any pieces of amalgam, and also help keep you from breathing any more mercury vapor than you have to. A couple of other suggestions would be, the dental assistant MUST keep a tremendous amount of water and suction going on that tooth at all times while the drilling is going on. This also helps with what I mentioned above. Mainly keeping the mercury vapor to a minimum. This is a MUST!
Dr. Hal Huggins D.D.S. is one of the most informative dentists for the lay person regarding all forms of dental materials and procedures. His information is easily found.
Since you mentioned you go to a homeopathic practioner, does that person perform Kinesiology? The reason I ask is Dr. Huggins mentions using it while he was still practising dentistry. Did you know that some porcelain filling materials contain radioactive materils so they show up better on x-ray? It depends on who the dental manufacturer is. The books and Internet reading I've been doing suggests you have a Kinesiologist check the materials the dentist is going to use for bio-compatability to your body. This is so important whether you are expecting or not.
You also mentioned having your tooth crowned. I'd encourage you to do some research on that as well. "We" all must take responsibility for our own health, especially when it comes to dentistry!
Shaylind, I'm only suggesting these things because of what I've learned in the last 6-8 months. I had no idea about so many things regarding different dental issues prior to my starting this research. One thing just leads to another, to another, and so on. Now I feel some what "informed." I hope I've been able to help you a little. Best of luck to you and please keep us posted.