Dental amalgam has been used as a filling material for over 150 years. Amalgam is made up of a combination of silver, tin and other metals, combined with 50% mercury. Previously it was thought that the mercury contained within the filling remained inert, however more recent sophisticated tests have shown that over time mercury from the fillings is released into the oral environment and stored within the body, although this is still a topic of controversy within the dental profession. Mercury has been shown to be toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys. Mercury can also be accumulated within the body through environmental exposure and ingestion of large fish.
We see many patients who request amalgam removal with tooth coloured fillings for both health and aesthetic reasons. In patients who are already suffering from chronic medical conditions, amalgam filling removal may exacerbate their symptoms if not handled carefully as mercury is released on removal of the fillings. In a patient with health concerns we will consult with their health professional to check if their system will tolerate amalgam removal. When we remove amalgams we use a rubber dam to physically isolate the tooth and prevent ingestion of filling particles and mercury vapour. Medical oxygen is delivered via a nose mask and protective eyewear is worn. These measures are taken in order to minimise the amount of amalgam vapour that is ingested. We replace amalgams with tooth coloured composite resin material.
We offer an extremely comprehensive amalgam removal service following protocols to ensure we minimise any potential mercury exposure to the patient and our staff. As part of this service you will receive a thorough amalgam removal consultation and dental examination together with x-rays where appropriate. At the consultation we discuss what is involved and answer any questions you may have. We work collaboratively with the doctors and naturopaths within the practice to help formulate a mercury detoxification program where required. A number of our patients report an improvement in their health and general well being after having their amalgam fillings removed.