Dental amalgam is a type of dental filling utilised to fill dental cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in dental patients around the world. They’re also called silver fillings because of their colour. Dental amalgam is made up of copper, tin, silver, and a whopping 50% of elemental (liquid) mercury. Mercury is used because of its unique ability to bind the other metals present and form an amalgam.
Dentists still use them because they’re inexpensive, long-lasting, and durable. Available scientific evidence suggests that you only need to remove dental amalgams if there’s tooth decay beneath the filling or damage to the filling itself. Some experts caution against amalgam removal unless absolutely necessary because of the potential of increasing your exposure to the mercury. However long term exposure to mercury released from fillings with everyday chewing is also a great concern for many people. So we recommend you discuss the process with your dentist and/or healthcare practitioner to help you decide if removal is the best solution for you.
The greatest danger brought about by improper dental amalgam removal is from exposure to mercury vapour and inhalation into your lungs. Small bits of mercury removed during the process may also be swallowed and absorbed through your intestinal tract. Improper removal aside, simple chewing releases small amounts of mercury and chewing gum can cause a greater amount of mercury to be released.
Your dentist can minimise your exposure to mercury during removal by doing the following things:
The amalgam fillings should be kept cool during drilling (removal) through the abundant use of air and water. This drastically decreases the amount of mercury vapour released from the fillings.
A high-volume evacuator (suction system) should be near the filling that’s being removed throughout the whole removal process, minimising the number of mercury particles and vapour going into your system.
Your dentist should remove the fillings in chunks rather than as a whole to minimise mercury exposure.
Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth during the entire process of removal. This can best be done if you have an alternative source of air like a nasal hood connected to an oxygen tank.
A rubber dam helps to isolate the tooth being worked on and prevents you from swallowing mercury particles.
Air ventilation within the dental practice is also important to clear out any mercury vapours. This is for the dentist and dental assistant as well as for you as the patient.
After the removal procedure, your dentist and the assistant should immediately clean-up, dispose of their gloves, and carefully vacuum your mouth for at least 15 seconds. You should also be asked to rinse with water and gargle. DON’T SWALLOW, spit it into the sink.
Lastly, the dental assistant shouldn’t forget to remove your protective covering and to clean around your neck and face. Nobody wants to bring home mercury particles.
How you can prepare properly for your dental amalgam removal
Make sure your kidneys are in good shape. Mercury is primarily eliminated through your kidneys. If they’re not working well, elimination will be difficult.
Don’t forget your other organs that also exert an effort when your body is trying to eliminate mercury:
Liver. Avoid alcohol and caffeine; they mess up your liver’s detoxification process. Load up on milk thistle and curcumin. Milk thistle improves liver function and has a protective effect on your liver cells while curcumin reduces inflammation and fights free radicals brought about by mercury exposure.
Large intestine. Ensure that you are having plenty of fibre to make sure that your intestines contract and propel out wastes and toxins effectively.
Skin. Increase your body’s sweating power through sauna therapy. Uhm, don’t overdo the sweating process, you don’t want to be dehydrated during the removal procedure. Take electrolyte and mineral replacements to replace what is lost through sweating.
Mercury is a heavy metal. So you can take heavy metal binders like chlorella, zeolite, and coriander leading up to and after the removal. Activated charcoal taken shortly before the procedure is thought to be helpful to bind any mercury particles that may have entered the intestinal tract during the process.
Certain minerals help to displace heavy metals. When it comes to mercury, the important mineral is selenium so make sure you are taking a therapeutic dose of selenium leading up to and for several weeks after having your amalgams removed.
Don’t undergo a dental amalgam removal if you’re unwell as it will put too much strain on your body. It’s much better to reschedule your appointment.
Mercury elimination yields high levels of free radicals. As a result, you’ll need an equally formidable level of antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C (liposomal allows higher dosing), and vitamin E to shield your body from the negative effects. Take them before and after your procedure.
Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist about the things he or she can do to minimise your exposure to mercury. It’s your right as a dental patient to ask. We also recommend discussing the best supportive supplements to take with your healthcare practitioner so that you can prepare your body properly before you undergo dental amalgam removal. The guidelines and advice presented here can navigate you towards a successful dental amalgam removal.