Silver fillings are made of mercury and metals that shouldn’t be in your mouth. At Brighton Dental, Dr. Paige Woods and our San Diego dental team can remove your harmful old amalgam fillings and help you get on with a healthier, better life. But you can’t just grind them away without precautions. If a dentist tried to get rid of amalgam without precautions, you could inhale or ingest some of the toxic material during the process – and so could the dental team.
Dr. Woods follows the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology’s safe amalgam removal protocols, which are continually being revised to provide the best, safest protocols. In July 2016, these recommendations were officially dubbed the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique – or SMART.
At Brighton Dental, following SMART protocols means we take these and other precautions:
Use of an amalgam separator. This device must be properly installed and carefully maintained to collect mercury amalgam waste so it isn’t released into the room and spread throughout the office.
Adequate air filtration. A high-volume air filter is necessary for getting rid of amalgam particles and mercury vapor from the air.
Rinsing with an absorbent slurry. Made of charcoal, chlorella or other absorbents, this type of product is used for rinsing and swallowing before the procedure – unless, of course, you decline. We recommend using it again after the procedure as well.
Use of protective gowns. Gowns should be used on the patient and all dental personnel because research has shown that many particles of harmful amalgam are not collected by suction and other devices. We use non-latex gloves too.
Use of face shields and masks. To protect our dental team, Dr. Woods and everyone else who is in the room at any time must wear a face shield and mask.
Additional protective procedures. This includes protection for skin and clothing, external air or oxygen and a dental dam sealed around your mouth – because you can’t be too careful.
Use of an oral aerosol vacuum. Used up close to the work area, this can help mitigate mercury exposure for you. A saliva ejector is also used under the dental dam.
Lots of water usage. Using a lot of water reduces heat, and that can reduce the spread of mercury vapor and help clean away particles before they can be absorbed. Once we’re done we thoroughly flush your mouth with water again.
Sectioning and chunking. Rather than grinding away all of the amalgam, we remove it in sections or chunks using a small diameter carbide drill to keep the harmful material in the largest pieces possible.
Every Step Matters For Safe Amalgam Removal
We’ve summarized and condensed the protocols for this blog post, but Dr. Woods follows the full SMART procedure recommended by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. This includes declining to do amalgam removal on pregnant women unless critically necessary.
We take so many precautions for two reasons: We care about our patients. And mercury is dangerous. So-called silver fillings are actually made of half or more mercury. Incredibly, in the past harmful mercury was used to make amalgam malleable. Today, we know that this malleability also means it can be released easily. And we now know that mercury isn’t safe to be around or have in your body.
If it’s time to finally have your old mercury or silver amalgam fillings replaced with modern composite material or other restorations, contact us now at Brighton Dental. We’re a gentle biocompatible dental office that makes sure we do no harm to your body as we work to improve your oral and dental health. Why not contact us at 619-640-5100 now?