I keep hearing I need to get rid of my old amalgam fillings by my mercury-free dentist, but the ADA says they’re safe. Who’s right?
I don’t know exactly what your dentist has said or why he was recommending you have them removed so it’s hard for me to make a judgment on his statements. However, you can find studies backing both the pro-amalgam and anti-amalgam camps.
There are very good reasons to remove your old amalgam fillings, especially if they’re old, and replace them with white composite fillings. Amalgam fillings can start to leak, which means you’ll be ingesting mercury. There is absolutely no doubt that mercury is a toxic substance when ingested. If they’re in good condition, you may be fine leaving them, but have your dentist keep an eye on them.
There are studies which say that the amalgam fillings release mercury vapors, which you will inhale. It boils down to which studies make more sense to you. You have to make these decisions. Your dentist can’t make them for you. IF you want to keep the fillings, you may keep them. When you’re ready for them to be removed, you need to make sure you go to a dentist who knows how to do a sanitary amalgam removal.
Who Should Remove Fillings Which Contain Mercury?
A drill can raise the temperature enough to cause the mercury to pour out of the filling. The thing is, mercury isn’t just an ingredient in amalgam fillings, it’s the main ingredient. So steps need to be taken to ensure you don’t suffer any ill effects from them.
You should be given safety glasses to wear so you don’t have to deal with specks of mercury resting on your eyes. The dentist should also be employing the use of cold water to keep the temperature of the mercury down so it doesn’t vaporize into your breathing passage.
A rubber stopper dam is placed over a patient’s mouth to block any bits of mercury. Some dentists will even use an air evacuator to make sure to draw airborne particles away from you.
Some dentists take the protection even further. I would say at a minimum, you’d need the cold water and stopper dam. If you do decide to switch out your fillings, you’ll find many benefits. Check out Dr. Bolt’s mercury-free dentist page to see a list of their advantages.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Raymond Bolt.