Michael C. Goldman, DDS

Quackery ?

Anti-Mercury dentists have been called "Quacks" by some.  Can you guess where that  name came from......


There's an interesting website  called "Quackwatch", perhaps you've noticed it.  I noticed it because it came up  second when I searched  for  "holistic dentistry" using the MSN search engine.    I'll be  fair.  I'll even give him a  free "plug":

"Holistic Dentistry"

... Mercury Amalgam Scam. " Holistic Dentistry": A Brief Overview ... Much of "holistic dentistry" is rooted in the activities of Weston A ...


On that  website there's a lot of opinion   but not a lot of science.  But that's ok, he's entitled... and to be honest, I believe he  believes he's doing a  public service.  Furthermore, I partly agree with the author.... there is a lot of bogus info  out there that is designed   to scam the public that  can be  expensive and even  downright dangerous !  So, that's good.  People should be encouraged to question and think for themselves.  I support that.  So  why am I writing this article?   Because I think it's funny how  words get  thrown around and   misused and misunderstandings get perpetuated.

Quack !   Why is that  word used to suggest that  a professional is a fake, a fraud, a shyster ....?  The  derogatory  expression is used  so easily, as if  everybody gets the  meaning and that it is self-evident.    Well, guess what ! It ain't at all like that.   Read on, this is an interesting  tale. I promise.  I'll even  keep it short and sweet...


In the 1800's mercury+silver dental filling material (Amalgam) was developed, probably in Germany.  Prior to that the only decent  fillings were gold.  The problem with gold was that  it was  difficult and took a lot of  work to do and had to be done pretty well to work at all.  That made it expensive.  On the other hand, the new "amalgam" (which literally means "mixture") was quick and easy and could be done sloppily and yet  still seemed to work.  As a result  fillings could be done very quickly and less expensively.  The public was very happy to  embrace it.

On the other hand, the  organized dentists were against it.  There were reports of  health problems  that were thought to be related to  mercury use and the  quality of these new fillings was often terrible plus  many other related problems.  Many dentists, and organized dentistry,  in Germany, then England and finally in the US were almost up in arms against  Amalgam use. 

But since the public thought it was a bargain and seemed to do the job, they supported it and  went to the  dentists that offered it.    McDentistry...? Sound familiar?

Anyway, those in the public as well as in the professional sectors that were against the use of amalgam fillings  referred to it as "Quicksilver" fillings , from the common name of mercury, "quicksilver".  After a time it  became corrupted (?) into "Quacksilver fillings", then "Quacksilver" and finally, yes, you  guessed it before my dramatic punch line..... The dentists that offered  Quacksilver fillings were   called ....Quacks !

I find that so  fascinating, because now the ones (like me) that don't offer amalgam fillings are sometimes  lumped together and called quacks. That's it folks.  Hope you liked this little story as much as I do.  If not, well, sorry I wasted your time!    Let's go get a  Big Mac and fries....and Supersize them, please!


PS:     In case you are still mesmerized by my spellbinding storytelling and I let you crash  too suddenly with the abrupt ending,  I'll offer a  bit  more to let you cool down a bit more gradually.

In the US in the mid-1800's, there was an organization "American Society of  Dental Surgeons" that was the representative body for organized dentistry as a profession.  That  society banned the use of amalgam fillings.   If a dentist wanted to be a member  he or she had to swear not to use amalgam.

Furthermore it was even considered grounds for a case of MALPRACTICE to use amalgam!  But as I stated above, the public supported the dentists that offered amalgam  so they prospered despite the efforts of  organized dentistry and others opposed to amalgam use.

Before very long at all, the  old guard  died off and the new breed of pro-amalgam-using  dentists took their place and  the American Society of Dental Surgeons collapsed.  In its place came a new organization .... BASED ON THE PREMISE THAT AMALGAM USE WAS JUST FINE, THANK YOU!   Can you guess the name of that organization????????????????? Yes, the present day ADA, the American Dental Association.  Interesting, isn't it?

Well, this time that's really IT !   Hope you had fun!


This pamphlet was written in the hope that it will increase understanding about a topic that seems important from time to time. Obviously it is only a part of the whole story, so if you have questions after reading this please do not hesitate to ask or call. Also, if there is a topic that you think would be helpful, please suggest it.

Michael C. Goldman, DDS

General and Cosmetic Dentistry
3815 East-West Highway
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
Phone (301) 656-6171



More info about the following is available  if you select  "topics".

Holism in dentistry is an approach to dental treatment, primarily  caring for  patients' health and safety from both a conventional as well as  "alternative healthcare" point of view.   It is sometimes called "biological" dentistry or "biocompatible" dentistry.  In it's fullest sense, I believe it   acknowledges and deals with  the mind, body and spirit of the patient, not just his or her "teeth".  See Topics / Info.....

Cosmetic dentistry is about doing   quality , esthetic dentistry in a way that looks natural to begin with, and furthermore,   can even  improve  one's  attractiveness through techniques such as bonding, bleaching, veneers, caps, implants and more.  It can   be like "instant orthodontics" in correcting  crooked, twisted or misplaced teeth in many instances.  Dark or misshapen teeth can be restored.   Smiles that lack youthful vigor or beauty can be revitalized! See Topics / Info..

Bleaching, veneers, bonding, caps, bridges, and implants  are cosmetic dentistry treatments that are also  discussed in  Cosmetic Dentistry, and more...