Mercury Safe Dentistry

Biological Dentistry

Biological dentistry is a science-based treatment philosophy seeking the safest and least toxic way to accomplish treatment goals. The aim is to minimize the impact of treatment on the patient’s overall health system, by ensuring materials are biocompatible.

We make every effort to protect the patient, our staff and the environment when performing any procedure. We now follow the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) protocol for the safe removal of mercury restorations from the mouth. With the strength and beauty of the latest restorative materials, there are many options for repair and restoration available, including porcelain and BPA-free composites.

If you would like to learn more about biologic dentistry or our protocols, contact our office today for an appointment!

Mercury Silver Fillings…are they safe?

Silver amalgam fillings have been used to restore decayed teeth for over 200 years. However, most people have no idea that ALL silver fillings contain mercury. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metal powder and no less than 45% of elemental liquid mercury, which is a potent neurotoxin. By itself, mercury is a toxic poison. It was once thought of as being bound to the other dissimilar metals in an amalgamation. Science has known for decades that the mercury component leaks or leaches out of the filling. This occurs whenever we chew, grind our teeth or drink something warm.

Dental schools still teach dentists to use mercury amalgam (silver) fillings and the American Dental Association (ADA) continues to tell the public they are safe. But recently more and more questions have been raised about the safety of the mercury vapor released from amalgam fillings by various forms of stimulation. This has resulted in a controversy and an ongoing debate about them – with some dentists saying they are safe and some saying they aren’t. This has now evolved to the point where over 50% of practicing dentists are no longer putting mercury amalgam fillings in their patients’ teeth. Many countries have now outlawed the use of dental amalgam to protect their populations. In fact, three countries, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have banned the use of these fillings in the dental practice.

The controversy has also made dentists rethink what they were taught in dental school. Because it has been proven that unsafe levels of toxic mercury vapor are released when amalgam fillings are unsafely removed, we have recently implemented a Mercury Safe removal protocol to protect our patients and team.

Unsafe removal of amalgam/silver fillings can generate huge amounts of toxic mercury vapor, easily over 100 times more than the maximum levels of mercury vapor allowed by all government regulatory agencies. What really separates Mercury Safe Dentists from those who are ‘only’ Mercury Free, is their understanding that:

  • When unsafely removed, amalgam fillings release excessive and unnecessary amounts of poisonous mercury vapor.
  • The mercury released from amalgam fillings negatively affects themselves, the patient, the staff, and the environment.
  • Patients absolutely need to be protected from exposure to toxic mercury vapor during the amalgam removal process.

Becoming both a Mercury Free (amalgam/silver filling free) and Mercury Safe dental practice is a decision made by the individual dentist. We believe that deciding to have your existing mercury amalgam fillings removed and replaced must be your choice, and your choice alone.

Safe Mercury Removal Protocol

When old mercury silver fillings are removed, the mercury vapors can spread like a cloud in the treatment room. Small particulate crumbs can spray on the dentist, staff and the patient. While standard dental suction removes some of this, it is not nearly enough to protect the patient, the dentist and the assistant. The room environment can become contaminated, as can the water supply.

Because of the growing medical concern regarding heavy metals, we understand that you may be worried about the mercury fillings in your mouth. If that’s the case, we can help alleviate your anxiety with our experience and expertise in mercury filling removal.

We are proud to offer a Mercury Safe protocol to replace silver mercury fillings which ensures that there is minimal, if any, exposure to harmful mercury vapor during removal. Once the mercury is removed, we can restore your teeth with BPA-free composite resin fillings. For more extensive filling replacement, we use the most advanced computerized dental CEREC technology, allowing us to create a precise color matched ceramic filling in just one visit.

Your safety is our priority. This means that we are trained to remove these mercury silver fillings, and have specialized procedures and protocols to keep you, us, and our environment safe. Without these precautions, your body ingests or inhales the mercury vapor, which can lead to mercury toxicity. We are one of the few practices in Wisconsin to follow and use the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) protocol recommendations for amalgam removal known as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART). Some of the main points of SMART are listed below.

To ensure your safety, we follow the IAOMT protocol:

Amalgam Separator – Our amalgam separator collects mercury amalgam waste so that it is not released from the office and into the waste water.

Vitamin C/ Charcoal– We will offer you both Vitamin C and charcoal before and after your amalgam removal appointment.  Even though we take all the above precautions nothing is 100%.  The Vitamin C and charcoal are taken to help bind and detox for any exposure you might have gotten.

Rubber Dam– The rubber dam fits over your teeth and protects you from swallowing any pieces of amalgam fillings.  It also helps keep your cheeks and tongue and saliva out of our way so we can work more efficiently.  We also coat the rubber dam with Hg-X cream which helps prevent mercury vapor from going through the rubber dam.

Oxygen– We will have you breathe oxygen while we remove the amalgam fillings so you are not breathing in any mercury vapor.  There is a significant amount of mercury vapor that is released from the amalgam fillings when they are removed.

Mercury Vacuum– We will place a mercury vacuum next to your mouth when removing the amalgam fillings.  This draws the mercury vapor and amalgam particulate away from your face and ours.

Suction/Water–  We will be using lots of water and the assistant will use the high-volume suction right next to your tooth to collect the filling particles and to also suction the mercury vapor.

Chunking of the Amalgam Fillings–  We try to remove the amalgam fillings in larger chunks or pieces so there is less drilling on the fillings and thus less little particles and vapor released.