Lifelong health issues resolve following removal of Filshie clips, amalgam fillings and nickel based crowns/bridge
Like most children I suffered various illnesses in my early childhood and like many children I went to the dentist for regular check-ups. I had silver amalgam fillings fitted in routine dental restoration.
I was 10, or thereabouts, when I had my first filling and it was shortly after this that I began to have asthmatic-type symptoms when swimming (I was part of a synchronised swimming team) which resulted in me giving up this hobby. I also noticed that my skin reacted to ‘cheaper’ earrings and other jewellery, belt buckles, watch straps and their buckles and jeans buttons. I didn’t give much thought to the jewellery because if I stuck to gold and silver, I suffered no ill effects. In my mid-teens I had several bouts of Uticaria (swelling of the lips and eyes); but was told that this was probably caused by my hormones or something I was eating. My parents continued to send me for dental checkups and fillings and I continued with this regime when I left home and got married.
During my early 30s, I was told I could not continue to use the contraceptive pill. I opted to undergo ‘tubal ligation’ – a reversible sterilisation operation in which clips were fitted to my fallopian tubes. At no point was I asked if was allergic to any metals. If I had been asked, I could have told the doctors about the times I had worn jeans and had sores around my belly button, about the reaction to ‘cheap’ earrings, about reactions to watch straps and buckles etc. I did not discover until a few years later, that the clips they inserted were not plastic, as I thought, but metal. I had had abdominal pain and I underwent an investigative operation to discover the cause and it was found that one of the clips had ‘come undone’ and broken free, and was resting atop my bladder! In a discussion after the operation I discovered that the clips were metal. I said I had been told they were plastic; but still the ‘penny’ didn’t drop for me.
I suffered from serious gastrointestinal problems for several years after getting the clips. I was eventually diagnosed with Cholecystitus (Gall Stones) and underwent an operation to have my gall bladder removed. However, my abdominal problems did not end. By my mid 40s following hospitalisation with severe stomach pain, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was given a variety of ineffective medication. A couple of years later, I underwent a Carpal Tunnel operation and later began to experience continual joint and muscle pain and loss of muscle stamina, I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The medication prescribed for this was also ineffective.
A little research revealed that neither of these two illnesses is yet understood properly by the medical community and they are what is described as ‘diagnoses of negatives’. Diagnoses of negatives means that there is not clear medical reason for the symptoms, but I was still prescribed medication which needless to say did not have any affect on the symptoms.
I continued with my dental check-ups and fillings as required, even having a tooth removed when I could not get any comfort and relief from toothache after repeated filling of one particular tooth. Following the removal of the tooth I decided to have the gap filled with a false tooth and decided with my dentist to have two crowns and a bridge fitted. Over the next couple of years, I developed ear, sinus and nasal drip problems and, yet again, no one was able to tell me what was wrong with me. There were several investigations of the nasal passages and entrance to the ear from within the nasal cavity, but no obvious cause; medications prescribed had no effect.
At my next visit to my dentist, I asked out of curiosity what the crown/bridge restoration was made from, the dentist was uncertain but followed up for my and obtained the information for me; it contained 75% nickel and other metals. I told him I was allergic to nickel and he asked if this had been proved, having said no, he told me that if I could prove Medical Need then he could get it changed. So in May 2008 I took an NHS Patch Test to find out. The results came back that I was indeed allergic to nickel and to thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in everything from vaccines to contact lens cleaning solution and make-up. This made sense to me, and made sense of a variety of symptoms I had experience over the years, not least being ill with cold type symptoms and Upper Respiratory Tract Infections every time I had my yearly flu jab.
This discovery piqued my interest in the subject of metal allergy, and my research quickly led me to MELISA. Having completed the on-line questionnaire, I decided to be tested for allergy to 20 metals, chosen by me after consultation and discussion with MELISA, and based on my history, diet and environment. I sent a blood sample for testing.
The results indicated that not only was I extremely allergic to nickel, but also to gold, tin, palladium, inorganic mercury and molybdenum.
I took the MELISA results to my dentist, who wrote to a NHS Teaching Hospital requesting the immediate change of my fillings and removal of the crown/bridge. The first dental consultant refused. I was despondent and asked for full dental clearance of all my teeth and was sent to another NHS General Hospital where the consultant told me that I was deluded and had been misled. I didn’t give up and my dentist referred me a third time and to yet another NHS Teaching Hospital; this time the consultant agreed to treat me.
During winter 2009/spring 2010, I was fitted with composite (white) fillings and offered a zirconium ceramic alternative to the crown/bridge, in which the only potential allergen substance was zirconium. For my own peace of mind, I undertook another MELISA test, which came back negative to zirconium. In July 2010, I had the crown/bridge replaced with the zirconium ceramic alternative.
During this time I had also inquired about the composition of the clips used in my sterilisations. It turned out that they contained eight parts of nickel per million; while this is a tiny amount I believe that to a person with an extreme allergy such as myself, it was certainly sufficient to cause a reaction. I had the clips removed in September 2009. Only then did I discover what it was like to move about with no pain in my hips, no deep abdominal discomfort and no deep abdominal itch. It was amazing that such a small amount had made this local area of my body so sore and uncomfortable. Within 24 hours of having the clips removed my abdominal discomfort subsided, the deep abdominal itch had disappeared and the severe pain in my left hip vanished.
On the completion of my dental work, all of my oral symptoms (blisters, ulcers, lumps, sore, dry mouth) had within a few short hours, either drastically improved or disappeared completely. Within a couple of days to one week following completion of the dental work the IBS symptoms and the Fibromyalgia symptoms also disappeared.
My GP’s and dentist’s reactions, a couple of months later, were wonderful; they were obviously astounded by the change in me and simply said ‘how good and well I was looking’.
Aside from the initial discomfort following such extensive dental work and surgery, I can honestly say I feel like a new person; I have my life back.
Sue Collins, United Kingdom