I get lots of questions about dental problems such as implants, root canals, mercury filling and how to have mercury removed safely. Well, I am no dentist so I will tell you my experience of removing amalgams as that seems to be the most frequently asked question. With the rise in cosmetic dentistry, you could be forgiven for thinking that your teeth are just for the purpose of a perfect smile. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve the aesthetics of your teeth, we need to build an awareness of the wide-ranging effect oral health can have on our overall health. The oral cavity is a good indicator of your well-being. Infection for example in the oral cavity places a significant burden on your general health by releasing bacterial toxins and inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream. From my years of research I have learned that dental infections contribute to systemic diseases as a result of the inflammatory process. Silver fillings (amalgams) for example contain mercury and release low levels of mercury vapour into your body. To remove amalgam fillings, it needs to be done in the safest possible way and environment for the patient and the dentist and their assistant. I had some mercury fillings removed some years back by a Swiss-trained holistic dentist and there was a vast difference in her technique and the previous fillings I had removed by my normal dentist. She explained that in holistic dentistry, the dentist looks at your overall health, not just your teeth. They look at a patient's medical background, diet and especially your intake of all forms of sugar, even fruit as it is a sugar. Here are some of the steps she took before and during the procedure.
- I was completely covered from head to toe with protective covering during the process as was the dentist and her assistant. Not just the usual masks over their noses and mouths, hair, clothes everything was covered.
- During the actual removal, the dentist provided me with a nasal hood which gave me an alternative source of air. This was to ensure I would not inhale the mercury as it was being removed.
- A rubber dam was inserted into the mouth to safeguard against fragments of mercury reaching other areas of the mouth. A rubber dam isolates the teeth being worked on and is a standard practice for most dentists removing amalgam fillings and in my opinion the very least you should insist on if you are considering this process.
- She explained she was also using a high-volume evacuator a powerful suction system. She said this would minimize the risk of exposure to mercury vapour and amalgam particles.
- She then cut the amalgam into chunks rather than drilling the mercury filling in the molar. This process is called chunking which means the dentist only drills enough to cut out the filling into chunks, which can then be easily removed and disposed of.
- The instant the procedure was over the dentist and her assistant left the room and asked me to vacate the room immediately so it could be cleaned up. She asked me to shower and wash my hair, despite the fact that it had been totally covered and explained that she was equally as worried for herself and her assistant because of the dangers of mercury.