I was at the dentist this week.
But while I was sitting in that oh-so-comfortable dentist’s chair I was confronted with the fact that I have been trying to conceive for over three and a half years. Let me repeat that in case you skimmed: over three and a half years. All I could think about was the fact that three and a half years is a long time – almost ten percent of my lifetime so far.
So why did this dismal thought come to me while a guy in a white coat was trying to see how many sharp objects and mirrors could fit in my mouth at once? Because the fact that I am trying to conceive weaseled its way into the discussion I had with my dentist and now I was sitting back with nothing but my thoughts to distract me from the poking, pushing and drilling that was taking place in my mouth – which I consider a very small place for all that activity.
The discussion my dentist and I had started out simply. He informed me that one of my two amalgam fillings had to be replaced and that a few of my other teeth will probably develop cavities if they are not sealed soon. So replace it and seal em’ up, right? Not quite so fast.
For someone who’s trying to conceive the decision to replace an amalgam filling is a bit more involved. I wrote about this in my blog last fall: Dental Fillings with Mercury: In or Out.
In a nutshell: mercury is toxic and although organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control currently agree that there is not enough evidence to show that the fillings are a health risk, the FDA states on their website, “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.”
The greatest exposure to the mercury in these fillings comes when the fillings are placed or removed. And since the body needs months to eliminate mercury, women trying to conceive could have elevated mercury levels at conception which presents a potential danger to the fetus. This is why I decided last fall to leave them in.
Now it’s different. One of them has to come out. Does this mean I should postpone trying to conceive even longer than the two cycle wait I’m in right now from my miscarriage to allow my body to eliminate mercury? After talking to my dentist I decided no.
He said the fact that the filling is so tiny combined with the special equipment he uses to remove the filling means there will be virtually no mercury exposure to my body. Sounds good. Sounded so good that I thought while he is in there he might as well remove the other amalgam filling. Because while there are no studies that show these fillings cause infertility there are some anecdotal stories out there from women who attribute the removal of their amalgam fillings to becoming pregnant. Totally weak to base a decision on anecdotal stories but it was somehow enough to tip the scale. I mean, I have to get one of them replaced anyways so why not wipe the whole issue from the table by replacing the other one too?
For my next appointment he’ll finish sealing the rest of my teeth and replace the other amalgam filling. When I’m reclining in the dental chair next time, I plan on thinking about the fact that I’ll be mercury free instead of dwelling on the three and a half years that I’ve been trying to conceive.
Mercury free. I like it.