Trust our truly holistic dentist’s office to safely remove mercury fillings from your mouth
When silver fillings were introduced 150 years ago, they represented the best option to repair cavities at the time. But they have no place in our modern, truly holistic dental practice in San Diego, California. In fact, these fillings threaten the health of our patients, planet, and team, so Brighton Dental takes great care during the removal process and when replacing them with healthy, attractive-looking, metal-free fillings.
The problem with “silver” (mercury amalgam) fillings
While these fillings are silver in color, each filling is actually made from an amalgam of silver, copper, tin, and 50% mercury. You read that right – on average, by weight, half of each amalgam filling contains mercury. The most toxic of the neurotoxins, mercury exposure, is associated with 200-plus adverse health effects, according to the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT), of which our own Dr. Paige Woods is a member. These conditions range from cognitive illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s to gastrointestinal disorders and chronic fatigue.
Several European countries have banned the use of these fillings due to the health and environmental implications. Stateside, the EPA mandated that all dental offices install amalgam separators to prevent mercury from entering our waterways. So, we ask: Why would we place something in our patients’ mouths that is illegal to throw into the garbage bin? Dr. Woods and our team commend you for being a savvy healthcare “shopper” and for researching the safety of these common yet ultimately unsafe dental materials.
The power of being “mercury-safe”
Some practices are “mercury-free”; they recognize the toxicity of amalgam and do not place these mercury fillings. Some offices, like ours, are also “mercury-safe,” meaning special equipment and protocols are used to safely handle and dispose of these toxic fillings. After all, we know that mercury is emitted every time the filling is heated. So, mercury exposure increases when you grind your teeth or consume hot or acidic beverages. However, the greater risk of mercury exposure occurs when removing the amalgam from your mouth.
Dr. Woods has invested in specialized equipment to minimize mercury exposure through gases or particles produced during the removal process, and our team is trained in special techniques. These steps include:
- Patients are given charcoal based tablets to prevent the toxins from being absorbed by the body if inhaled or swallowed.
- CES (cranial electrotherapy stimulator) supports a calm yet present experience. This drug-free, natural sedation increases feel-good serotonin while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.
- Isolating the treatment site to protect the surrounding from potential exposure with a rubber dam or “raincoat for your teeth.”
- A positive pressure nose hood is applied to ensure mercury vapors are not inhaled.
- Once safeguards are in place, our super-powerful HEPA vacuum system immediately sucks up any excess gases generated during the procedure.
- Dr. Woods uses a special drill to remove the amalgam in pieces rather than using conventional techniques that create dangerous aerosols.
- After everything has been cleaned, we all take a deep breath and go about restoring the tooth with nontoxic materials!
All of this is also done in a room that is dedicated to the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings. Again, we congratulate you on taking the steps toward a healthier mouth and self. We welcome your questions, and you may schedule a visit by calling Brighton Dental at (619) 831-8559.