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amalgam fillings

Removing Amalgam Fillings Safely

02/11/2011

Many people walk around with Amalgam fillings in their mouth. These dental fillings are easily recognisable because they are a dark grey or a silver colour.

They don’t look very attractive and amalgam fillings comprise of 50% mercury which is a toxic metal.
Amalgam fillings were a popular choice by many dentists because it is inexpensive, strong and long lasting. The downsides of amalgam fillings are that they don’t look very nice and they release small amounts of mercury vapour for extended periods of time which can be inhaled.

Nowadays patients have choices when it comes to choosing filling materials and white coloured composite materials are less expensive and stronger than they used to be.
If you don’t have any amalgam fillings already in your mouth then you may want to think twice before allowing your dentists to place them.

The interesting debate is what to do if you already have amalgam fillings?
1) Do you have them removed and replaced with a safer and more attractive material?
Or
2) Is it safer to leave them alone?
If you suffer from metal sensitivities then removal of your amalgam fillings should be seriously considered but what should you do if they are not causing you any bother?
Those that decide to have their amalgam fillings removed usually fall into two categories. Patients who want to improve their appearance and those that are worried about the health implications from the mercury.

For those that are worried about the health implications of mercury there is a dilemma. If you leave the mercury in place we know that mercury will release small amounts of vapour over prolonged periods of time. If the amalgam filling is removed then there is a high chance that a higher dose of mercury will be inhaled and enter the bloodstream. Some dentists believe that it is better to remove these fillings because of the long term health benefits. Other dentists strongly believe that it is safer to leave them in place.
If you decide to have them removed then it is well worth it to choose a dentist that will take precautions. Discuss the procedure with the dentist and investigate whether they have the correct equipment to remove your mercury fillings safely.

Removal
Dentists that are prepared for Amalgam filling removal should have special cutters for slicing the amalgam so that the filling material can be removed in larger pieces. Dentists that grind the filling out with a high speed drill will aerosolise the mercury particles which can be inhaled. Remove the amalgam material in large chunks spraying with water to keep the temperature down and the particles grounded.


Disposal
The dentist will no doubt use a suction pump to remove debris from your mouth. It is important to know whether the suction pump discharges outside of the building or whether it pumps the vapour back into the room. It is a more expensive installation but it is better to have the vapour discharging outside of the building otherwise both the dentist and the patient will be inhaling the mercury vapours.
Amalgam separators are also used to ensure that waste water is filtered before entering the sewage system as small amounts of mercury can pollute large volumes of water.
It is also essential for all staff present to wear fully serviceable respirators.

Barriers
It is essential for the patient to be fully protected during the procedure. It is advisable for rubber dams to be used to isolate the area. Covering the patients face will also prevent loose particles to fall in the patient’s eyes or onto the skin.

Excavation
It is essential that the dentist fully excavates the area. Using a magnifier will allow the dentist to fully inspect the area to ensure that all amalgam is removed before placing the new filling material.

Patients Air Supply
It is important for dental patients to avoid breathing in mercury particles during the process. If air can be provided via a nose hood then the patient can have clean air provided to them which will be safe.

Supplements
Although few studies have been made many dentists advise taking vitamin C, zinc, charcoal and magnesium to help with the chelation of mercury from your system. Increased water intake and an addition of garlic in your diet will not do you any harm.

Hungarian Dentists
Many dentists in Budapest and surrounding areas in Hungary have the expertise and equipment to safely remove amalgam fillings.

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