Wednesday, 27 February 2013


This isn't an RA related post but I wanted to see what others on here think.

I've had to have quite a few dental fillings recently, my first ones apart from a small white one as a child. When I had my consultation the dentist recommended 3 white and 3 black fillings due to the cost and the cosmetic placement of the fillings, with the white ones nearer the front of the mouth.

I am not particularly vain about the back of my mouth and the black ones are quite a bit cheaper. Since I was made to feel like there is no particular reason to choose one over the other apart from cosmetic preference, I agreed to go ahead with this recommendation without giving it too much thought.

Having had the final fillings done this week, I happened to come across information on black fillings which filled me with quite a lot of apprehension. I was not aware that these 'silver' fillings as the dentist marketed them are in fact 50% mercury. Not only that but the mercury vapours leak out daily in tiny doses and these types of fillings have already been banned in quite a few EU countries due to toxicity. They are also not recommended for children and pregnant women by NHS guidelines.

Why did I have to find out this information on the internet? My dentist didn't mention any vital differences, didn't give me any leaflets on risks and benefits and didn't once mention the word 'mercury'. I had no idea, I thought the fillings would be silver and that the whole thing was no big deal. I mentioned this to people at work, many of who had these fillings and none of them knew either and were quite shocked.

I'm very angry that I wasn't given all the facts, but it seems there is an NHS-wide practice of not disclosing this information. No scientific study conclusively proves that the amount of toxin released affects human health, but I don't actually want a highly toxic substance in my mouth, period. I also don't care that many people have had them for years without problems - it's not really the point. Why expose yourself to a toxin when there are perfectly good alternatives?

Had I been given the info, I would've definitely paid the extra £150-£200 to have all 6 fillings in white composite. I understand that for some poorer people the cheap mercury fillings are the only way to combat tooth decay and it might be a worthwhile risk/benefit ratio. However, I don't think it's right to force these fillings on people without giving all the facts. I'm not even saying dentists should say "these are definitely dangerous", just point out that there is mercury in them and little amounts do seep out in the mouth and to ask if the patient is comfortable with going ahead. I'm really angry but I don't really know what to do about it.

I also found out that if I elect to have them replaced with white ones, there is more risk of unnecessary tooth/nerve damage
and more mercury release due to the drilling. So really a lose-lose situation.

I guess I will go back and speak to the dentist to ask why I wasn't told this and see what she says. Pretty sure she will send me out the door telling me to stop wasting her time!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Weird lumps?

I have an RA question for you all. I've been trying to google this but I can't seem to find the right words to search or maybe no one's written about this yet. Does anyone get weird lumps on their fingers and toes which are not nodules? I've looked up nodules and they're definitely not those, as nodules seem to get described as painless hard bumps that appear over bones like elbows. The things I get are red bumps that sort of look like mosquito bites and are quite soft. They're definitely inflammation as they get hot sometimes and they are tender to the touch but they're not in the joints themselves and they don't affect the bend of the joints. I've had them at the end of my toes near the nail (so the end of the toe looks like it's swollen and tender but without affecting the bend of the toe) and also on my fingers at the ends or sometimes between the joints just at the side of the fingers. Totally weird. Does anyone know what I mean?! If I push them in it's just flesh, it's not a big lump of fluid or anything. Just tender red spots as if a random bit of the flesh is swollen. I don't know how to describe it. They're not really painful but just a bit tender and hot sometimes. The best I can describe it as is an inflamed insect bite on very localised areas of my fingers. Hmmm!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Reply from the government!

On the 1st February Polyanna Penguin posted a very informative article about the changes being made to UK disability benefits.

I wrote an email to my MP and today got home to this:

A letter from my MP's office to say he agrees with my email and that some of the mobility requirements have been relaxed on Friday since consultation but that he will be bringing this up in parliament on Monday (yesterday) and that he is extremely concerned about the issue.

That was a bit of a surprise! I write quite a lot of emails to MPs (usually after a glass of wine, when I get angry about politics!) and normally just get an email response. I also only sent the email on the 1st Feb - good to see he's on the ball.

Friday, 1 February 2013


Well I am once again calm and feeling positive. I always get myself in a tizz and need to rant and rant and have a wee cry and a few days later I'm sorted. I guess that's a good thing as it doesn't let my emotions build up inside.

The doctor is doing all the right investigations and now we just have to wait.

In other news, I am off to Prague next week for 4 days! I've never been before so I'm very excited to see all the historical sites and drink all the wonderful local pivo.

Hopefully it will be very cheap too, as I have been skinned alive by the dentist this month. I hadn't gone for a check up for about 3 years (I know, silly!) but since I got diagnosed with the arthritis I think I got sick of doctors and let it slide. I've never had problems with my teeth but it turns out I needed 6 fillings! I've had 2 done and getting the rest in about 10 days time, but as 3 of them are quite near the front I didn't want to get the low cost silver NHS fillings so had to pay about £200 for white fillings privately. Ouch.

I guess it's good we caught them now before they developed into root canals. Although I'm sure this is still very cheap compared to what some of you guys in the US have to shell out for medical treatment so I should count myself lucky!