Mercury-safe dentistry means more than just not placing amalgam fillings. It means removing them a way that protects the patient, dentist, staff and environment from exposure to the mercury they contain.
All “silver” amalgam fillings contain more mercury than silver or any other element (usually copper, tin and zinc). Depending on the brand, dental amalgam is 48 to 52% mercury – the most neurotoxic, non-radioactive element on our planet, more toxic than even arsenic or lead.
While some controversy persists around amalgam, scientific communities agree that elemental mercury is a neurotoxin. Dental researchers acknowledge that mercury vapor is released from amalgam fillings 24 hours a day, even when not subject to the pressures of biting or chewing.
There is less agreement as to what this means for a person’s health. Debate centers on how much mercury vapor is actually released and how efficiently one can bind and eliminate the toxin.
Some people are genetically predisposed to eliminate heavy metals quite efficiently. Some, however, are not and begin to experience symptoms of mercury poisoning almost as soon as they are exposed. These people are said to be “allergic” to mercury. Others may develop symptoms gradually, months or even years later.
Chewing, bruxing (clenching and grinding), brushing, professional tooth polishing and temperature changes (hot food or drink) have been shown to stimulate the release of mercury. Substantiated scientific evidence has shown that when the vapor is inhaled, 80% or more enters the bloodstream. From there, mercury is distributed throughout the body and stored in organs, glands and tissues, making it hard to detect through traditional hair, blood or urine analysis.
Some toxicologists conclude that no amount of human exposure to mercury vapor is harmless.
Our concerns revolve around the well documented health and environmental effects of elemental mercury and other heavy metals. Considering the very strict regulations regarding the handling, use and disposal of mercury, our philosophy is to limit your exposure or not to expose you to heavy metals in the first place. We do not use mercury-silver amalgam fillings in our practice, opting instead for biocompatible materials such as composite. And when it comes to their removal and replacement we follow the strict protocols of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
Additionally, our protocol involves:
- Using rubber dam to isolate the teeth and protect the oral cavity.
- Removing the fillings in chunks so as not to vaporize the mercury, while using copious amounts of water.
- Using a state-of-the-art Swiss air HEPA filter/vacuum next to the patient and a whole-room purification system to keep the air clean.
- Rinsing with chlorella to remove any mercury particles.
Your safety, our safety and that of our planet is paramount. The dentistry we practice at Pride Dental is both mercury-free and mercury-safe.