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3 Facts You Need to Know about Dental Mercury

June 30, 2017

Dental Mercury & Amalgam Removal

1. All silver-colored dental fillings, also called amalgams, contain approximately 50% mercury, and dental mercury is still being used in the USA.

In 2013, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) formalized a global convention to reduce mercury usage, it included legislation to limit the use of dental mercury. For patients that already have amalgams are highly suggested to undergo amalgam removal to avoid health issues in the future. The UNEP mercury convention will come into force on August 16, 2017, and as part of this effort, the European Union is taking action on dental mercury.  The amalgam fillings danger is directly correlated with the amount of mercury in them.

A new EU mercury regulation plans to prohibit the use of amalgam for vulnerable patients (i.e. pregnant or breastfeeding women & children under 15 years old). Prior to the 2017 ratification of UNEP’s mercury treaty, other countries had already taken protective actions against dental mercury.  For example, Norway and Sweden have banned dental amalgam, and Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Japan have reportedly limited its use to less than 5% of tooth restorations.  However, mercury fillings are still used on about 45% of direct dental restorations worldwide, including in the United States.

Amalgam Removal

Mercury linked to health risks

2. Mercury vapor is released from these fillings into the human body, and this dental mercury has been linked to health risks.

Mercury vapor is continuously emitted from dental amalgam which means that people are directly exposed to the mercury in their mouths.  The output of mercury vapor can be intensified by the number of fillings and other activities, such as chewing, teeth-grinding, and the consumption of hot liquids.  Mercury is also known to be released during the placement of dental mercury amalgam fillings. As a result, mercury fillings removal cost has become more affordable as patients find out the truth about the health risks associated with amalgams.

Scientific researchers have associated this mercury in amalgam fillings with Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), antibiotic resistance, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, autoimmune disorders/immunodeficiency, cardiovascular problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, hearing loss, infertility, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and an array of other health problems. Click here to learn more about the potential health risks of dental mercury.

Should I remove my Amalgam Fillings?

3. Safety measures can reduce the amount of mercury vapor released during the removal of amalgam fillings.

Some patients need amalgam removal because of device failure, while others chose to for cosmetic purposes (white-colored fillings match the teeth better) or because they prefer to have dental fillings that do not contain mercury. However, the process of drilling out amalgam fillings liberates quantities of mercury vapor and fine particulates that can be inhaled and absorbed through the lungs, and this is potentially harmful to patients, dentists, dental workers, and their fetuses.

The application of specific safety measures can reduce the potential negative health outcomes of mercury exposure during the amalgam removal process.  It is crucial for patients to know what these safety measures are so that they can insure these practices are implemented during the removal of amalgam fillings.

The process of Amalgam Removal at NHWC

Removing amalgam fillings requires special training and expertise to know when and how to remove them, as amalgam emits mercury vapors when it is outside of the body. Our dentist, Dr. Rahul Kumar, is properly trained in how to remove amalgam fillings safely to reduce toxic mercury exposure to you, our staff and the environment.

For example, the removal process generates a significant amount of heat that can speed up the release of mercury from the amalgam, so our staff cools the filling with water and air to suppress the release of mercury vapors. We will insert a rubber dam into your mouth to help protect you from dangerous vapors. Our dentist drills as little as possible to cut the filling into chunks for easy removal by hand or by suction.

Call us today to book your consultation!

Our Dental Division at Natural Horizons Wellness Centers will perform a thorough evaluation when determining if removal of an amalgam filling is appropriate for you, and then determine how much amalgam is present in your mouth. Previous dental work may hide amalgam fillings under crowns, and other dentists may use amalgam during root canals.

For more information about our Dental Center visit our website and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kumar, please contact Carole at (703) 246-9355.

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