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Mercury free fillings / Mercury filling removal
Amalgam fillings have been widely used by dentists since the early 1800’s. Amalgam is mainly a mixture of silver and mercury. The argument over the safety aspects of the mercury in these fillings has been going on for nearly 300 years and is still going on. Amalgam makes a very strong, cheap and long lasting filling.
For all this time it has been recognised that mercury on its own is neurotoxic (affects brain and nerve tissue ) and nephrotoxic (affects kidney function). Until the 1980’s dentists believed the silver bound chemically with the mercury when amalgam set and this prevented the mercury from coming out of the fillings and harming the person who had the fillings. In the 1980’s Professor Murray Vimy in Canada showed that very small amounts of mercury does in fact come off the amalgam fillings in somebodies mouth and builds up in their brain, nerves and kidneys. The question now, is what effect does this have over twenty, forty, eighty or even one hundred years. This is a similar question to what effect does exhaust fumes in the environment have on us. It is impossible to say. It probably varies from person to person and depends on the person’s individual susceptibility to these small amounts mercury. It is probable that in the majority of us it will have no effect (our great grand parents had these type of fillings and dentists are inhaling the ground fillings every day for decades with no apparent effect in the majority of cases).
At Compton Acres Dental Practice we believe the filling material we use in your mouth is your choice… not ours. If you want a very affordable, long lasting material in your back teeth and are not concerned about the potential risk of long term exposure to a very small amount of mercury we can place amalgam fillings. If you want to avoid this potential risk we are happy to place composite fillings or porcelain inlays or crowns and avoid amalgam in your mouth. If you have amalgam fillings in your mouth and want them removed we are happy to do so for you and will discuss the alternative options and their cost with you.
Mercury filling removal
When amalgam fillings are removed there is an increased risk of harmful mercury containing vapour being released and inhaled by you. We are always happy to provide a remote air supply to prevent you inhaling this vapour when your fillings are removed. This involves you wearing a special close fitting nose piece over your nose attached to a hose which supplies the remote air. Also a rubber sheet can be placed around your teeth and attached to a special tensioning frame (rubber dam) to prevent any of the ground filling entering your mouth and being swallowed. High volume suction is also used to keep particle and vapour levels to a minimum. We do not charge for these extra precautions but do not use them routinely. If you feel they are relevant to any concerns you have please just ask your dentist to use these techniques. We will respect your wishes and concerns in relation to amalgam fillings and its safe removal from your mouth and are happy to discuss any concerns you have over this controversial subject and advise you on all the alternative materials.