Dental amalgams are 50% mercury by weight and release mercury vapor continuously. Chewing food, drinking hot liquids, clenching an grinding all increase the release of vapor. Removing an amalgam will release the most vapor due to the high heat and friction generated by the handpiece. Dentists are the most exposed to the vapor because many of them are removing amalgam every day without any safety precautions. Not many dentists will dispute any of these statements. The question that comes up is how much harm (if any) comes from this exposure? Mercury is one of the most toxic naturally occurring elements in the world. We know what mercury does to people in very high doses, it’s affects the brain and nervous system. A study was completed by Yale University and a paper was released in 2012 which looked at the health of dentists. Not surprisingly, dentists showed significantly higher incidences of mental and nervous system disorders. The paper also dicusses how some more recent studies which suggest the safety of amalgam in children are flawed. Here is a copy of the study if you’re interested in reading it:
If occupational mercury exposure can effect dentists in a negative way then it’s not a stretch to say it can affect patients who have them too, especially in people who are sensitive to mercury or already have neurological conditions. There is still debate on the safety of amalgams with both sides showing their research to support their claims. Neither side will probably change their stance until more information comes out. Luckily people have a choice to believe whatever they’d like to on this topic and there is evidence on both sides to support whatever you’d like to believe. Because both sides can agree that there is a lot of mercury vapor release when amalgams are removed, it would make sense that safety equipment is used during removal to protect both patients and dental staff. Dr. Tony Kim at his Honolulu biological dental office uses the IAOMT protocol to safely remove amalgams. He uses a top of the line mercury vacuum from IQ Air to minimize exposure, you can read more about these units:
Dr. Kim has two units running in the office, one for use during removal and the other for use 24/7 to help purify the air in the office. If you have any questions or would like a consultation on amalgams and safe removal, please contact the office for a complimentary consultation. If you use the Contact Us tab then we’ll contact you either by email or phone whichever you prefer.