Are you thinking about removing a mercury filling? If you are reading this section then chances are you are probably a bit concerned about the mercury content in amalgams. Amalgams are the ‘silver’ fillings used to fill cavities in our mouths. It has been in use for over 100 years and there is no doubt that it is a very strong and long lasting restoration. There is a debate about the superiority of newer materials that can be bonded onto teeth versus amalgams from a structural standpoint but the major concern for many is how much mercury is contained in my ‘silver’ mercury fillings? You may be shocked but amalgams are over 50% mercury by weight. I was shocked when I learned that since I do not remember being taught that in dental school. Another question is how much mercury is actually released into my system and is it harmful? If you google ‘the smoking tooth’ then you can find a video that clearly shows a plume of mercury vapor that is continually released. If you chew or eat/drink hot things then the mercury vapor release increases. So basically people with amalgams are breathing in mercury fumes 24/7. If you go to the websites iaomt.org or dentalwellness4u.com you can learn about mercury and dental care safety. There is debate on how harmful or not harmful these mercury vapors are but I think not many will argue that no mercury is better than some.
This video does a great job of showing how much mercury vapor is released from a single mercury filling. Dr. David Kennedy created the video and is an active member of the anti-mercury movement and a member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Dr. Tony Kim has been a member since 2010 and practices holistic and biological dentistry. The office is completely mercury free and is mercury safe. IAOMT safe mercury removal techniques are utilized for maximum protection from mercury vapor.
Let’s talk about dental care and safe mercury removal protocols. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor released when drilling out a mercury filling, several protocols exist to help protect us. When heated (drilled), amalgams can release lots of mercury so I don’t recommend that everybody go and remove their amalgams after they read this. They should be removed in a safer manner that takes the patient’s health into account. Dr. Kim follows the IAOMT protocol for safe mercury filling removal. He uses the top of the line IQ Air Hg vacuum for his main vapor suction. He also uses safety glasses to prevent exposure to the eye and uses a rubber dam to prevent the pieces from being swallowed. A suction unit underneath the dam helps collect any vapor that may sneak past the dam. A high powered suction is used to remove the mercury water and pieces that come off during the removal process. There is a good rinse after the procedure to make sure that all particles are removed.
Once the amalgam is out, we will need to evaluate the tooth underneath the old filling since amalgams are known to crack teeth underneath. Yes, these fillings last a long time but are notorious for eventually cracking teeth. Once everything is ready we will then prepare the tooth for the final restoration. Since we’re talking about mercury in amalgams, it must be noted that most all composite resins and cements do contain small amounts of toxins such as BPA, phthalates, and bis-GMA, etc. So it is difficult to find the ‘perfect’ material and the most biocompatible materials may differ from person to person. Special tests can help minimize the confusion but I’d only recommend that for people who are very sensitive to many different materials.
One should also remember that a dentist may select certain materials for extra strength or for certain cosmetic properties. What good does a very biocompatible restoration do if it breaks often or makes a front tooth look ugly? That is where an experienced biological dentist can help make balanced choices between biocompatibility and longevity. Call if you’d like to come in for a consultation about dental care with safe mercury removal.