St. Paul Family Dentist Explains Reasons to Replace Mercury Filling

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Oct 7, 2014

The more we understand about the potential dangers of mercury in our bodies, the more reasons you have for replacing old amalgam fillings. Many dentists have chosen to discontinue the use of amalgam fillings containing mercury altogether. As an example, the St. Paul Family Dentist has not placed a single mercury filling in 30 years.

New Knowledge, New Treatments

Fillings containing mercury were widely used by dental professionals for decades. At the time, amalgam fillings were used because of their strength and durability. Over the years many studies have emerged that indicate that excess levels of mercury in our bodies is a serious medical concern. As a mercury-free dentist we see an increasing number of patients who want their old mercury fillings replaced with attractive, safe composite fillings.

A dental filling made of mercury has the potential to leak. Not only is this a health risk, but it increases the opportunity for dental decay to develop, leading to deterioration of the tooth. Another potential problem is that amalgam fillings containing mercury 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. You may need a dental crown and possibly a root canal to save the tooth. In extreme cases, you may need to have the tooth extracted.

Healthy, Tooth-Colored Fillings

But advances in modern dentistry offer the safe and aesthetically pleasing option of tooth-colored composite fillings. The following steps will be taken when you arrive at our St. Paul Family Dentist office for removal of 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 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.

We use state-of-the art equipment in the treatment room that captures airborne mercury vapor and contaminants. A nasal hood is provided to eliminate the possibility of inhalation of harmful mercury vapors. Once the fillings have been removed safely, 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 to discuss your specific situation.