He’s been dubbed Alberta’s most affordable dentist, an ethical practitioner who offers patients reasonably priced services in a province that has the highest dental fees in Canada.
Based in the east-central Alberta town of Hanna, Dr. David Warwick is also renowned for advocating for the removal of dental amalgam (mercury) fillings as part of his mission to practice safe and healthy dentistry.
Dr. Warwick is a member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a global, not-for-profit network of dental health professionals and scientists that investigates dentistry in order to protect the public and the environment.
He recently published a groundbreaking study about mercury vapour released during a variety of dental procedures.
Here, the amiable dentist answers some of our questions.
Q: Why did you join Pure North’s board of directors?
A: Pure North uses scientific literature and free thinking to uncover the root causes of human disease. By identifying the origins of disease, our treatments can be preventive, effective, safe and suitable for humans from all walks of life.
Q: When did you begin advocating for the removal of mercury fillings?
A: Back in the late 1970s in dental school, I suspected that mercury fillings weren’t as safe as what was being propagated. When I got out of school, I actually tried not using them, but [dental composite resins] at the time just weren’t satisfactory. Six or seven years into my practice, I noticed health effects [from working with mercury]. I had rashes on my forearms, and I felt that my mood was changing: I was glum and kind of short-tempered. In 1992, I finally stopped using mercury for fillings. I haven’t placed one since.
Q : What are some of the dangers of keeping one’s mercury fillings?
A: It is undeniably the largest single source of mercury in the population, according to the World Health Organization. An estimated 15 to 20 per cent of the population will have a really hard time with even low levels of chronic mercury exposure. Many report brain fog, the shakes, mood swings and anger that doesn’t make sense. A lot of the time you’ll get eyesight issues. It works against you as far as the heart goes, and the kidneys can get damaged.
I could go on and on.
Q : Why do so many dentists continue to use it?
A: Part of the reason is that mercury is a stealthy poison. It can cause certain symptoms in one person, and a much different array of symptoms in another, related to wherever the mercury ends up in the body. Because of this, it’s very difficult to pin mercury as a causative agent. Then you have the dental schools:
At one point, they’re going to have to admit that what they’ve been teaching for centuries has been poisoning people. I think that’s the biggest thing hampering the advancement of the profession.
Q: Are dental schools changing?
A: New York State University’s dental college has pretty well stopped using mercury amalgam. Its policy is based on reducing the environmental impact and the fact that composite filling materials are proven to be as effective as amalgam. It also states that any work done with amalgam, either in the lab or in the clinic, must be done with strict mercury hygiene protocol. So, they’re aware of the occupational dangers of using amalgam. But mercury hygiene training at most universities is inadequate, resulting in dentists who have no appreciation for what is required for dental worker protection.
Q : Some have compared mercury’s effects on dental professionals to the “mad hatter” syndrome in 19th-century England
A: [Hat makers or milliners] used mercury nitrate steam to stiffen the brims of hats. By the time these people were in their mid-30s, they died or had brain problems. In those days, of course, their kids followed in their footsteps. People thought it was a family issue, when it was mercury nitrate that did it.
Q : Can removing mercury fillings slow or reverse some of the troubling symptoms?
A : We’ve seen amazing turnarounds. Recently, a patient had multiple sclerosis-like symptoms; he couldn’t work, couldn’t drive and could barely walk. We removed his amalgams. He’s driving again, his cognition has gone from about 25 per cent to 75 per cent. It’s completely changed his life. We find that issues like brain fog, short-term memory problems and fatigue can clear up quickly. Mercury is a neurotoxin, so it also blocks the furnaces called mitochondria, which make energy for our bodies.
Q : Will your new study help to change minds?
A: We are hoping it gives people who favour amalgam a very good and honourable reason to stop using it, and not have any guilty feelings about their past experience with it. Or, if they continue using it, to do so in a manner that makes it safer for both patient and dentist.
Pain free, mercury free
Severe chest pain sent Murray Bertsch to hospital several times, but doctors found nothing wrong with him. When the 58-year-old Albertan met Dr. David Warwick, the dentist immediately recognized the symptoms of mercury toxicity and safely removed Bertsch’s nine amalgam fillings. “Without him, I probably wouldn’t be here,” says Bertsch, who’s now pain free and mercury free.
You can watch Murray Bertsch’s story below, plus and another video in which the amount of mercury vapour released by dental amalgams is measured