- Maria Indermuhle had dental fillings three years ago, prior to getting married
- Months later the newlywed noticed 'strange sensations' in her legs
- 18 months later she couldn't walk, lost feeling in her hands, started losing her vision, suffered heart palpitations and was slurring her words
- Doctors diagnosed Mrs Indermuhle with Multiple Sclerosis
- Having researched her symptoms she found they were similar to those caused by mercury poisoning
- A Swiss doctors tested her and claimed her body was riddled with the metal
- She removed fillings, undertook drastic detox programme and is now well
- Claims fillings caused poisoning but NHS Highland has not accepted liability
- Scottish Government said the amalgam dental fillings - mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper - are safe
Eighteen months after Maria Indermuhle had dental treatment, doctors told the 32-year-old she had the lifelong crippling illness multiple sclerosis.
They warned the then 29-year-old the condition would leave her unable to walk and prepared her for a life on medication - crushing her dreams of becoming a mother.
But Mrs Indermuhle, who is from Inverness but lives in Switzerland, is now back to full health, having had the fillings she claims were responsible, removed.
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Mrs Indermuhle said she has never been in contact with mercury, other than when she had the fillings fitted.
NHS Scotland said amalgam fillings, which are made of mercury mixed with silver, copper and tin, are safe to use.
The Scottish Government has paid more than £400,000 since 2008 to have thousands of the fillings removed from patients who have suffered an adverse reaction.
Mrs Indermuhle, who married her husband Jacques, 36, three years ago, left her home in Inverness for a new life in Switzerland.
But her plans for a life abroad soon came crashing down, as her health deteriorated.
She said: 'I started to feel such a strange sensation in my body.
'I started to have pins and needles in my legs and then it started to happen in my hands. Just 18 months later, I could hardly walk.
'I started having panic attacks, collapsing in the street, lost the feeling in my hands, started losing my vision, began slurring my words, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I couldn’t grasp French.
'I experienced palpitations, and I actually could feel like my brain was moving.
'I started having hallucinations during the night. It was terrifying. I could feel my body was breaking down and not working. I actually thought I was dying.'
The interior designer said she wants to raise awareness of the similarity between the symptoms of mercury poisoning and MS, to help prevent other people going through the ordeal she endured.
For a year, Mrs Indermuhle was in and out of hospital as doctors tried to establish what was wrong with her.
In October 2012 she was diagnosed with MS.
She said: 'I was told MS was a progressive disease and that I would get sicker and I would have to inject myself with meds every day for the rest of my life and eventually be in a wheelchair.
'I had a tearful weekend after that diagnosis. I was terrified. I felt completely alone, although my husband was great and very supportive.'
Three weeks before Mrs Indermuhle married her husband in Inverness, she had several mercury fillings inserted by an NHS dentist.
She claims she immediately sensed something was wrong, tasting metal in her mouth straight after the treatment.
'I brought this to the dentist’s attention but I was informed it was nothing to worry about,' she said.
'For six weeks after that, I couldn’t taste my food.
'I arrived in Switzerland and I just got sicker and sicker. But I refused to believe that this was the end. I had only just married.
'Then one day, I found the missing piece of the jigsaw. I discovered that mercury poisoning has the same symptoms as MS.
'I found a doctor here in Switzerland who is a metal testing doctor. He did various tests and they came back confirming that my body was full of mercury. I did indeed have mercury poisoning.'
After contacting NHS Highland, Mrs Indermuhle received a letter expressing sympathy for her problems, but the health authority has not admitted responsibility.
An NHS Highland spokesman, said: 'We are very sorry that Mrs Indermuhle has experienced health problems and the impact it has had on her life.
'The dental treatment she received was carried out under the NHS General Dental Services Scotland Regulations which recognise amalgam as the material of choice for prosterior teeth.
'We have been contacted by Mrs Indermuhle and have fully investigated and responded to her complaint. She has also been advised of the contact details for the Ombudsman should she remain unhappy with our complaint response.'
WHAT IS MERCURY POISONING?A Scottish Government spokesman added: 'The Scottish Government believes that amalgam fillings are safe to use, which is a view supported by the other UK health departments and the British Dental Association.
Mercury has for centuries been used in medicine, to make amalgams - substances formed when mercury reacts with another metal.
They are commonly used in dentistry to create fillings, when mercury is combined with silver, tin and copper.
Those who suffer high exposure to the metal can develop mercury poisoning.
Mercury is a heavy metal, which in all its forms, can produce toxic effects in high enough doses.
Severe poisoning can cause kidney failure, respiratory failure, damage to the brain and lungs, and even death.
The symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
* sensory impairment - vision, hearing or speech
* lack of co-ordination
* muscle twitching
* itching or burning
* skin discolouration
* profuse sweating
* faster-than-normal heartbeat
* high blood pressure
* mood swings, nervousness and irritability
Children suffering mercury poisoning may also suffer:
* red cheeks, nose and lips
* loss of hair, teeth and nails
* sensitivity to light
Mercury poisoning is also thought to be linked to mental health problems.
In the 1800s the phrase 'Mad Hatter' originated after people realised hatters, who used mercury to process felt for hats, often suffered mental health issues.
'If there is a proven allergic reaction to a constituent metal of an amalgam filling which is causing oral symptoms for the patient, a consultant may recommend replacement of the amalgam fillings.
'This is quite rare and fewer than 0.04 per cent of the 1,007,169 fillings placed in 2012-13 were removed on the recommendation of a consultant.'
Mrs Indermuhle, said: 'I was told by NHS Highland that the ombudsman cannot normally look at a complaint more than 12 months after you became aware of the matter.
'I couldn’t have been in touch before that or within 12 months because I didn’t know that my ill health was due to the dental treatment I had in March 2011.'
Mrs Indermuhle said she wants to raise awareness of the similarities between the symptoms of MS and those of mercury poisoning.
She said: 'It’s very interesting and terribly sad and worrying that the highest amount of MS sufferers are seemingly in the UK.
'Mercury poisoning has the same symptoms as MS, so maybe many men and woman are suffering like I was and it’s not MS at all, but mercury poisoning.
'If anyone has MS, I would be asking myself the question, do they have mercury fillings and if so, get them out.
'However, it’s crucial that mercury fillings are removed safely and that certain natural supplements are taken before the treatment.
'And it’s not enough to just get the black fillings removed, you then have to do a big detox and this is best done with the help and support of a professional.'
The 32-year-old, who is considering pursuing a course at a holistic college in Edinburgh, said she and her husband's plans to have children are now back on track.
She said: 'It’s now over three years since I got sick after my dentist appointment.
'However, I have such a big awareness now of things I knew nothing about before. I eat differently and it’s now extremely important to me what I put in my body.
'I am just so sorry I ever accepted having mercury amalgam fillings to be put in my mouth. If I had only known then what I know now. I have removed all my mercury fillings from my mouth.
'I have done a big detox and haven’t touched any medications. It’s all been natural. All of those dreadful MS symptoms have gone.
'There is no time I was ever exposed to mercury other than when I was at the dentist.
'I live and love every day of my life more than I’ve ever done.'
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