Amalgam removal needs to be conducted with great care
While dental mercury amalgam is the most commonly used dental material in the last 160 years, it contains one of the most toxic substances known to man; mercury.
Dental amalgam contains 50% mercury, 20-35% silver, 6-15% copper, 8-15% tin and occasionally small amounts of zinc.
Mercury Amalgams Explained
The Holistic Approach to Amalgam Removal
As holistic dentists, we have not used dental mercury amalgam fillings since 1987 and have recognised since that time the importance of care in amalgam removal. Whenever amalgam is removed it is recommended by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) that rubber dam is used, additional suction and a special removal procedure is employed.
We take great care to minimise your exposure to mercury during the removal of old amalgam fillings.
We also take great care in the replacement of these fillings preserving tooth structure and choosing materials which are strong, biocompatible, aesthetic and long lasting.
Signs & Symptoms of Amalgam (Mercury) Toxicity
Thousands of research articles have raised serious doubts about the use of mercury amalgam fillings.
Mercury is toxic and is slowly and continuously released from dental mercury amalgam fillings.
Mercury interferes with the normal functioning of a wide range of important biological compounds such as proteins, hormones and enzymes, enzyme inhibitors, amino acids, red blood cells, as well as muscle and nerve cells.
Mercury amalgam fillings also expand with time and cause cracks in teeth, often resulting in breakages.
Mercury, therefore, has the potential to affect the immune system, the reproductive system, oral cavity, pharynx, nasal cavity, middle ear, larynx, airway, musculoskeletal system, heart, neurological system, endocrine glands and blood supply.
Mercury can be released into your body
Temperature, corrosion and friction from chewing or clenching increase the rate of mercury released from amalgams.
After chewing or increases in temperature e.g. Coffee or tea, the levels of mercury vapour in the mouth remain elevated for up to 90 minutes. Mercury is released from dental amalgam as vapour and particles.
Mercury vapour is invisible, odourless and tasteless and 80% is absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream.
Mercury interferes with normal biological processes in the body and is primarily stored in the kidney, liver and brain. Materials used for dental restorations should not interfere with the body’s normal functions and be conducive to good health.
Using the SMART Safety Protocol
Removing mercury amalgam fillings removes the greatest source of mercury to the body. At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we take great care in amalgam removal. There is also a safety protocol that includes a number of steps to safely remove mercury fillings. This is called the SMART protocol which you can learn about by clicking the button below.
Find out more about the SMART Protocol
Treatment Options for Amalgam Removal
Mercury amalgam fillings can be replaced with a number of biocompatible materials.
Biocompatible materials do not interfere with normal bodily functions. The most commonly used alternatives are composite resin or ceramic restorations.
Our preference is ceramic inlays or onlays because they are as tooth-like a restoration as we are able to do. Ceramic restorations are excellent at preserving and reinforcing natural tooth structure, it is non-metallic and long lasting.
The Amalgam Removal Procedure
We take extreme care in the removal of mercury amalgam fillings whether large or small. If you have amalgam fillings, the replacement of these is planned with the Dentist at your initial consultation.
The number of appointments and procedure we date depend upon the number and size of the amalgam fillings you are having removed.
The following protocols for safer mercury amalgam removal are used throughout the practice:
- Use of rubber dam to prevent ingestion of amalgam debris
- Medical air for patient to direct vapour away from inhalation
- High strength suction with to avoid mercury recirculation
- Use of negative ion generators and air purifiers
- Use of tungsten carbide burs to remove amalgam, minimizing heat generated & length of procedure
This protocol can help in the following ways:
- Protects your airway from debris associated with removing old restorations so you don’t swallow or inhale amalgam/mercury
- Guards soft tissue by keeping tongue, lips and cheeks protected
- Improves access and visibility – much easier for dentist and assistant to see the area they are working on
- It allows our patients to truly relax.
Amalgam Filling Removal: Before & After Photos
Is it safe to remove Amalgam filings? Or is it better to leave them?
The most exposure to mercury for you is during the placement and removal of the filling.
Therefore the decision on whether to go ahead with removal is a balance between the constant exposure and release of mercury filling throughout a lifetime versus the one off exposure of the removal.
That said, when we remove the mercury filling, we take precautions to reduce the exposure such as using rubber dam to isolate and protect the area, using medical grade oxygen to reduce inhalation, using copious water spray to reduce vapour and high speed suction and use of air filters as we’re working.
These are obviously precautions that cannot be taken whilst the filling is in place in your mouth.
Can I get Mercury fillings removed in one appointment? How many appointments do I need?
This all depends upon the location, number and size of the mercury fillings you have. We create a plan with you on the initial consultation.
When removing amalgam fillings, it is common to find that they have cracked a tooth. It is only possible to see this once we remove the filling. If this is the case, we sometimes need to change the approach if there is significant damage to the natural tooth structure.
Do you charge for removing the Amalgam fillings?
No. There is no specific cost for the removal of the amalgam filling. The cost is for the replacement material.
What can Amalgam fillings be replaced with?
The most commonly used alternatives are composite resin or ceramic restorations.
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