Safely Removing Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are being removed by thousands of dentists around the world every day. Many of those dentists are unconcerned with the possibility of mercury exposure that can come out of a tooth while it is being drilled out. Unfortunately the dental establishment as a whole, believe amalgam to be a stable material that releases very little mercury into the body. Studies have shown though, that cutting amalgam with a bur causes small particles to become released and subject patients and dental staff to mercury exposure. In one experiment, research showed that after swallowing the same amount of amalgam during a removal procedure, volunteers had a 3-4 fold increase in plasma mercury the next day and a 50% rise in urine mercury for up to a month afterward in 10 subjects.
Removing these types of fillings with a high speed dental bur creates a cloud of particles, the majority of which are less that one micron in size. These particles can be breathed into the lungs, broken down, and the mercury absorbed into the body within just a few short days. Many patients have come forward with claims of getting sick or having other adverse reactions after having amalgam fillings removed. Mercury free dentists from all over the world have been aware of the problem posed by exposure to mercury, and many have devised some strategies for reducing the amount of exposure to patients as well as staff.
In our office, we use as many precautions when removing amalgam fillings as we possibly can. One thing that we do to protect our patients and staff is to use a mercury vapor filter, which sits right up next to the mouth and acts like a vacuum to remove small particles as well as vapor that comes off of the tooth. This is highly effective in protecting the patient. Along with that, we use a rubber dam which prevents any of those particles from being swallowed or absorbed sublingually, and we use lots of water and a high speed evacuator to suction those particles up so that they do not become airborne. Additionally, we are able to hook our patients up to our oxygen machine, which allows them to breathe the cleanest air possible. The downside to this option is that the cannula tubing is made of plastic, and some of our patients prefer not to expose themselves to plastic materials, and would prefer to use a mask covering their nose instead. We also have several referring physicians that we can recommend patients to see before and after treatment to lower the body burden. This has been very helpful for many of our current patients.
In any case, we are happy to accommodate our patients to the best of our ability to make them as comfortable as possible in our dental practice. If you have any questions about safe amalgam removal or any of the other procedures that we do in this office, please contact us for further information.
Dr. Rick Stickney