If you have cavities with older fillings, there’s a good chance they contain mercury. A toxic heavy metal known for causing a host of potentially serious health issues, mercury is the primary motivation for most patients seeking amalgam filling removal. If you’re considering this procedure, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Why Are Patients Seeking Amalgam Filling Removal?
The phrase “mad as a hatter” might not be the most sensitive, but it’s a well-established one, stemming from the exposure of hatmakers to mercury over the course of their work. With the potential to cause a host of neurological and physiological problems, mercury exposure is no laughing matter.
While they’re often called “silver” fillings, amalgam fillings can contain up to 50% mercury, because it allows the compound to remain pliable during the filling process. Despite being handled as a hazardous material in transport to and from dental offices, it’s also still in widespread use in the United States. Data from the Canadian government indicates mercury use in dental applications is the leading source of exposure for people. The Mercury Policy Project states at least 40 percent of the mercury that moves untreated through water treatment plants ends up in the water supply. Eventually, it contaminates our seafood and other aquatic life. With all this information available about the dangers of mercury, it’s no wonder so many people are actively seeking amalgam filling removal.
How Should I Prepare for Amalgam Filling Removal?
The first and, arguably, the most important step you can take to get ready for safe amalgam filling removal is to ensure you’re working with a dentist who thoroughly understands the dangerous characteristics of the compound. Make sure your chosen professional uses a rubber dam to isolate the tooth in question to prevent amalgam particles from being absorbed by the gums or swallowed. You’ll also want to ensure your chances of inhaling airborne particles are minimized. This can be done through oxygen use and sparing application of dental drills.
Immediately before and during the procedure, check to ensure the staff is wearing the proper protective gear. If they’re not protecting their own bodies from exposure, it could indicate a lack of concern about the dangerous nature of the material. Because you want a dental staff that understands the potential danger of mercury, this is a good way to ensure your concerns are taken seriously.
After the amalgam filling removal procedure, discuss supplements and treatments to aid in the detoxing process. Populus nigra, organic sulfur and cilantro essential oil are commonly recommended. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners, alcohol, sugar and processed foods.
Because many insurance companies don’t deem it medically necessary to remove fillings containing mercury, you may also want to check with yours to see what will and will not be covered. Working with an experienced, informed dental practice can help you to navigate the insurance process, as well as the removal and replacement process.
Amalgam filling removal doesn’t have to be risky or dangerous. If your concerns about mercury exposure are mounting, call Pearl Modern Dentistry today to discuss your options for treatment. Our expert care providers are standing by to make it as quick, painless and risk-free as possible.