Safe removal of amalgam fillings
In the past, amalgam fillings were commonly used, but today, due to the potential health risks associated with the mercury content in amalgam alloy (around 50%), we are now replacing them with healthier and safer materials.
During the replacement or repair of amalgam fillings, the release of mercury vapor and small amalgam particles into the environment can occur. These particles can be inhaled or swallowed, potentially causing harm.
Given the toxicity of mercury, it is crucial to ensure that amalgam fillings are disposed of safely and efficiently when they are replaced or repaired.
At our practice, we follow a specific protocol for safe removal of amalgam fillings:
We first use a specialized procedure to cut the filling, followed by careful removal of the amalgam pieces with a hand instrument. Carbide drills are used instead of diamond drills as they break the amalgam into larger pieces, making it easier to remove. This significantly reduces the release of small particles into the environment. Carbide drills are also coarser than diamond drills, which leads to a reduction in amalgam removal time and, consequently, limits the exposure to mercury vapor during the drilling process.
Using water for cooling significantly reduces the release of mercury vapor into the oral cavity during amalgam removal. Additionally, the use of a dental dam that covers the entire tooth along with a suction attachment effectively prevents the amalgam from spreading into the surrounding area.
To further minimize exposure to mercury vapor, we utilize the IQAir Dental HG air cleaner with FlexVac hose, which effectively vacuums the mercury vapor and prevents it from spreading into the air.
We also provide a special nose mask to the patient to prevent inhalation of mercury vapor, and cover their face and eyes to prevent amalgam particles from coming into contact with the skin.
The room where the procedure is performed is also properly ventilated for added safety.