IS THERE A CONCERN ABOUT THE USE OF MERCURY IN DENTISTRY?
As written from Synergy Dental: Many people do not realize that ‘silver’ amalgam fillings are 50% mercury. A large filling may contain as much mercury as a thermometer. Mercury vaporizes easily at room temperature, and in this state, is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Inhaled mercury vapor is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. The World Health Organization has concluded that dental fillings contribute more mercury to a person’s body than all other sources of mercury combined. Mercury is a powerful poison. Published research demonstrates that mercury is more toxic than lead, cadmium or arsenic. No amount of exposure to mercury vapor can be considered harmless, especially considering its cumulative effect.
IS THERE AN ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISK?
Mercury is the most toxic, non-radioactive element on the earth. Most medical and scientific researchers have called for a ban on the use of mercury in all products. However, the potential harmful effects of mercury fillings have been ignored by the U.S. Government. Due to its poisonous nature, mercury can adversely affect the immune, urinary, cardiac, respiratory and digestive systems. Under laboratory conditions, mercury has produced brain cell deterioration identical to that seen in victims of Alzheimer’s disease.
WHAT ARE MY METAL FILLINGS MADE OF, IS IT SILVER?
The fillings in your mouth actually contain only a fraction of silver. They only look shiny because mercury is silver-colored (remember the old thermometers!). Metal fillings are made up of a mixture of 50-55% mercury and a powdered mixture of tin, copper, and silver. The dentist mixes the powder and liquid mercury shortly before placing it in the patients mouth. The dentist must follow a safe protocol so that neither he nor his assistant touch the mixture with bare hands as mercury is easily absorbed into the skin and is a known neurotoxin (more poisonous than lead). The mixing of the metals is supposed to “stabilize” the mercury and render it harmless. However the FDA has now accepted that mercury vapor escapes and small amounts are passed into the bloodstream and organs. The manufactures label on amalgam carries a skull and cross-bones and is labeled ?bio hazard.? In addition, when amalgams are removed they must be disposed of properly so they are not flushed into the sewer system as the waste is considered toxic.
The FDA is now carrying out an urgent review of its rules and may end up banning mercury fillings. Norway and Denmark banned mercury from fillings earlier this year while Finland and Japan have severe restrictions.
In California, mercury fillings are banned in children under 6.
Replacing Mercury Fillings
According to Synergy Dental we have this information and all these great facts on this page.
DO YOU ADVISE PATIENTS TO HAVE ALL OF THEIR MERCURY FILLINGS REPLACED?
No, we DO NOT ADVISE patients to remove fillings simply because they contain mercury. We feel it is our responsibility to inform patients what is in their fillings. When a patient is examined, our Doctors observe the integrity of the filling itself and determine whether it is serviceable or not. Because mercury is liquid at room temperature, it must be mixed in with a powdered filling material which is a mixture of tin, copper, and other metals (this material, when combined is often called ?amalgam? or ?alloy?). The resulting mixture is soft and crumbly which allows it to be easily packed into the tooth. However, because of it?s malleability, it slowly distorts over years of use. This causes micro-leakage, (which leads to decay) and weakens both the filling and the surrounding tooth. More often than not, because the tooth is a crystalline structure, it fractures or breaks first, leaving the crumbling mercury filling behind. As fillings degrade it is beneficial to the patient to replace it to conserve tooth structure and prevent fracturing and breakage.
IF I DO NEED A FILLING REPLACED HOW IS IT DONE? ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL PROCEDURES?
Yes, one of the most important things we can do for our patients is protect them while we remove any mercury fillings. As you can imagine, when you ?drill? on a filling it heats up and this can release some mercury vapor into the patients mouth and body. We minimize this vapor through a special protocol developed by the International Academy of Oral Medical Toxicology (IAOMT). This protocol includes: Patient Protection: Wearing of oxygen mask, and, when necessary or requested, rubber dam.
Evacuation: The assistant uses a High-Speed, High-Volume evacuation placed directly next to the tooth to suction any particles and material as they are removed. In addition, a High-Volume External evacuation hose is placed over the patients face to capture additional particles.
Replacing Mercury Fillings is a good start for healthy living.