Amalgam fillings containing mercury have been in use by dental professionals for decades. These fillings were widely used because amalgam fillings were strong and durable. But over the years we have learned that the presence of mercury in the body is a serious medical concern. As the public is educated to the dangers of mercury, our office receives an increasing number of requests for removal of old mercury fillings and replacement with attractive, safe composite fillings.
Dental fillings made of mercury have the potential to leak. This is a health risk, but also leads to the deterioration of healthy tooth structure due to the increased opportunity for dental decay to develop. Amalgam fillings containing large amounts of mercury also expand and contract, leading to possible cracking or breaking of the tooth. This can be painful and result in several visits to the dentist to restore the tooth. It may require placing of a dental crown and possible root canal treatment. In extreme cases, removal of the tooth may be needed.
On the positive side, advances in modern dentistry offer safe and cosmetically appealing options for replacement of old mercury fillings. The following steps will be taken when you arrive at the office of St. Paul Family Dentist for removal of your old amalgam fillings:
- A rubber dam will be placed in your mouth to prevent debris from being swallowed.
- Cold water will be used during removal to keep the mercury cool and prevent possible release of harmful vapors.
- The amalgam filling will be carefully removed by the dentist in chunks to avoid drilling and the possible release of mercury vapors.
- High-volume vacuum equipment will be used to remove airborne particles of mercury and its vapor.
The air in the treatment room is filtered to capture airborne mercury vapor and other contaminants. You will be given a nasal hood to eliminate the possibility of inhaling harmful mercury vapors and airborne particles. Upon removal of the fillings, all supplies used are carefully disposed of.
You do not have to live with unattractive and potentially harmful mercury fillings. If you are concerned about the safety of your fillings, contact our office for a consultation, and we will be happy to answer your questions.