Mercury-Free Dentistry Versus Mercury-Safe
Jan 02, 2016 08:49AM
● By Cori Crider
Many dentists are now mercury free, meaning they no longer place the toxic, mercury-laden silver amalgam fillings in patients’ mouths. But much of the potential health risk actually occurs while old fillings are being removed if proper precautions are not taken. It is estimated that the mercury vapor emitted from the removal of a single filling is enough for OSHA to completely shut down an industrial plant, yet most dental offices have daily levels that far exceed these levels. And this happens even when those fillings have been in the mouth for more than 20 years, because the mercury is still there.
A protocol was developed and tested by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology that protects patients (and the doctor) from dangerous mercury vapor during the removal of mercury fillings. It involves a series of special suction and filters to draw the vapor away and an oxygen mask so the patient is not breathing room air. Special drapes are used and the teeth are isolated to prevent mercury “sludge” from coming in contact with the highly vascular tissue inside our mouths. The precautions take some extra time during the appointment, but are well worth the health benefits.
An oxygen mask and a series of special suction and filters draw the vapor away so the patient isn’t breathing room air.
Once the old fillings are removed and the treatment area is wiped clean of any mercury residue, the next question is which type of “white” filling to use. Unfortunately, most of the white filling materials contain BPA and Bis-GMA. While studies point to minimal leaching of these products into the oral cavity, there are very high-quality products available that do not contain these toxins available.
Cori Crider is a holistic dentist in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Connect with him at CoriCriderDDS.com.