How do you keep me safe during amalgam removal?

A patient asked me this great question the other day. Although study after study have shown amalgam (silver fillings) to be safe it remains a significant health concern. Due to advances in dental materials and patient desires, we don’t place too many amalgams at our Montrose Dental Office anymore. Having said that we do remove a fair amount of old amalgam fillings. While no well based scientific studies have shown that having amalgam in your mouth is detrimental to your health, it is true that during the removal of amalgam fillings you are most susceptible to the mercury and other contents of the filling.

To combat this we take several measures:

  1. We use a rubber dam…..a latex or non-latex shield over your mouth to isolate everything we are doing while working on your teeth. This prevents the amalgam debris, grit and vapor from being swallowed or inhaled.
  2. High speed suction…..this aids in catching debris, water and vapors during the removal process.
  3. Removal technique…by taking the silver filling out in as large of piece as possible while removing minimal tooth structure we decrease the amount of amalgam debris and vapor. This is also done with fine water spray to keep amalgam dust and vapor to a minimum.