Amalgam Filling Removal
Dental Amalgam is one of many dental materials used to fill cavities in teeth caused by decay. Amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and more than 50% mercury. When liquid mercury binds together with the metal mixture, it forms amalgam. This silver, putty-like substance is placed into the cavity and shaped, hardening into a solid filling. Amalgam fillings may also be referred to as “silver fillings,” “metal fillings” or “mercury fillings.”
Because Dental Amalgam fillings contain elemental mercury, these fillings continuously release low levels of mercury vapor. The cheeks and tongue are mercury’s fastest rate of absorption. From there, Mercury can make its way into nearby tissues, traveling into the lymphatic drainage system, the lungs, and into the bloodstream, where it is free to travel throughout the body while damaging cells it comes in contact with. Mercury absorbed into the body can accumulate in any organ, including the brain, kidneys, liver, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. The effects of the exposure can take years to show symptoms, and these symptoms can vary greatly on an individual basis.
Some Common Symptoms of Long-Term Mercury Poisoning/Mercury Toxicity are:
- Memory Loss
- High/Low Blood Pressure
- Irregular Pulse
- Chest Pains
- Shallow Breathing
- Weakened Immune System
- Enlarged Thyroid
- Metallic Taste
- Weight Loss
If you have existing amalgam fillings and suffer from one or more of these symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing some level of Mercury Poisoning. It is best to have your fillings checked by an experienced Mercury-free dentist. At Natural Dentist Associates, we offer the Mercury Tri-Test, which is helps determine the level of Mercury in the system. The Mercury Tri-Test can identify those who are in need of Mercury Detoxification.
Exposure to high levels of mercury vapor has been associated with adverse health effects, particularly in the following groups of people:
- Pregnant women and developing fetuses
- Women who are planning to become pregnant
- Nursing women and newborn infants
- Children under age 6
- People with pre-existing neurological disease
- People with impaired kidney function
- People with heightened sensitivity or allergy to mercury or other materials in dental amalgam
Although several countries have since banned or limited the use of amalgam, Dentists around the world have been placing amalgam dental fillings for 150+ years. Many people had these fillings placed by their childhood dentist. But as the years go on and these fillings begin breaking down, it might be time to consider having them checked by a mercury-safe dentist, and possibly removed. Often, we wait too long and are left with little to no treatment options.
5 Reasons to Have Your Silver Metal Amalgam Fillings Removed:
Your Teeth Have Started to Fracture Around Your Fillings.
This could happen to a tooth with a filling of any material. When a tooth is fractured, or cracking around a filling, the filling will need to be replaced. You may not feel a thing, but a fracture can be easily diagnosed by your dentist during your regular check-up and/or x-ray.
Your Fillings Have Become Sensitive
Amalgam fillings weaken your tooth structure by contracting and expanding with changing temperatures. Over the years, tiny cracks begin to develop around your old filling, and pieces may fall out. Chances are, the tooth and/or filling will become sensitive- this is your body’s way of letting you know it needs attention.
You Have Any Metal Sensitivity Issues
It is very common to have sensitivity to one or more of the metals that are in amalgam fillings. We offer lab testing to identify chemical sensitivities to determine the most compatible material to use for your fillings. Though mercury exposure effects every person differently, there is no “safe amount” of mercury exposure.
Your Metal Fillings Are Over 10 Years Old
At the ten-year mark, the margins on the fillings start to break down, leaving a small gap between the filling and the tooth. This area allows leakage and over time decay will start to form under the metal filling. Additionally, Amalgam Filling material can slowly separate over time since amalgam does not bond to the tooth structure but is held in place by retention.
You Grind or Clench Your Teeth
Tooth/enamel wear, including chipping and cracking caused by clenching and grinding, will predispose teeth to decay and often prematurely break down existing filling material.
Natural Dentist Associates is a mercury-free and mercury-safe holistic dental provider, specializing in Mercury Filling Removal. Because mercury vapor is such a dangerous and toxic substance, we take every possible precaution before, during, and after Amalgam Filling Removal to ensure the health and safety of our patients, staff, and environment. Our doctors are trained, certified, and accredited by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings.
The IAOMT is a non-profit global network of dentists, health professionals, and scientists, who research the biocompatibility and risk of dental products and materials. Within membership of the IAOMT, dentists are provided training in mercury-free, mercury-safe, and biological dentistry. The IAOMT has developed a set of recommended guidelines for the removal of amalgam fillings, known as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART).
The IAOMT Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique is an extensive set of safety recommendations backed by scientific research that is used to keep patients, staff, and the environment protected during the removal of this harmful dental material.
At Natural Dentist Associates, safety is our number one concern, and we adhere to the following Amalgam Filling Removal guidelines:
- Use of an amalgam separator to collect mercury amalgam waste so it is not released into the dental office.
- Use of a high-volume filtration system to remove mercury vapor and/or particles generated during the removal.
- The patient is provided a slurry of charcoal, chlorella, or similar absorbent to rinse and swallow before the procedure (unless declined by the patient or found clinically inappropriate).
- Protective gowns and covers provided to patient and staff members to avoid skin contact.
- Non-latex nitrile gloves worn by doctor and staff members.
- Face shields and head/hair coverings worn by doctor and staff members.
- Properly sealed respiratory grade mask utilized by doctor and staff members.
- A dental dam made with non-latex nitrile material placed and properly sealed in patient’s mouth.
- Saliva ejector placed under the dam to reduce mercury exposure to the patient.
- Full body barrier provided to protect patient.
- External air/oxygen is delivered to the patient to avoid inhalation of mercury vapor or amalgam particles during the procedure.
- Oral aerosol vacuum is used in close proximity to the patient’s mouth during the procedure.
- Water and high-speed evacuation used to reduce heat and capture mercury discharges.
- Amalgam is sectioned into chunks and removed in as large pieces as possible.
- Once the removal is complete, the patient’s mouth is thoroughly flushed with water, and patient is provided a slurry of charcoal, chlorella, or similar absorbent to rinse with.
- All mercury-contaminated components are properly handled and exposed of in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.
We are proud to be a fluoride-free, mercury-free, and mercury-safe dental office for over 20 years! We take great pride in the dental and overall health of our patients, and make sure that every mercury filling removal is done in a manner that benefits the patient and the dental office team. As a biological dentist office, we choose only the best replacement filling materials available.
The replacement filling materials used at Natural Dentist Associates are selected for:
- Safe Placement
- Health Impact to the Patient
- Chewing Function
With so many safe alternative materials, it is really a shame that Mercury is still being used in dentistry. If you are still on the fence, we have answered some commonly asked questions to help you decide if you should have your Mercury Amalgam Fillings checked by a Mercury-Free Dentist.
How much does Amalgam Filling Removal cost?
The cost varies depending on the size and location of the filling being replaced. We do not charge a separate fee – both the removal and replacement filling are included in one price. We are very upfront about cost, so there are no hidden surprises. Schedule an amalgam removal consultation and we can provide you with a full treatment plan including a breakdown of all included fees.
Are Amalgam Filling removals painful?
Having an amalgam filling removed and replaced is similar to having a regular filling or cavity treated. Local anesthesia is used, resulting in minimal pain or discomfort.
How does Mercury enter the bloodstream?
Mercury vapor released by amalgam fillings is absorbed by the cheeks and tongue, or breathed into the lungs where it enters the bloodstream.
Does Mercury leak from Amalgam Fillings?
Yes! Mercury leaks from amalgam fillings in the form of vapor, which can be exacerbated by clenching, grinding, chewing, and hot liquids.
Can Mercury Fillings cause health problems?
In short, yes. While it is unknown the amount of mercury exposure that begins to cause health problems, it is widely known that mercury is a toxic substance, and the effects of Mercury exposure can cause harm.
Is it necessary to replace Amalgam Mercury Fillings?
Though these fillings can last for many years when done properly, there are other factors to take into consideration when it comes to the replacement of amalgam fillings. Doing some research and having your fillings checked by an experienced dentist will help you to make a decision that benefits both oral and overall health.
What is an Amalgam Filling?
Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals used as dental filling material. Dental Amalgam consists of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury.
What is Mercury?
Mercury is the only metallic chemical element that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. Mercury is a highly toxic substance and has been banned from use in thermometers.
We primarily serve Rockville, North Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Potomac, Washington DC, Gaithersburg, Kensington, Germantown, Burtonsville, Laurel, Columbia and Northern Virginia (Mclean, Tysons Corner, Great Falls, Arlington ) but people travel from all over the country for our specialty and holistic dental services.