Risks of Mercury Amalgams

Here at Bluffton Center for Dentistry, we believe the use of mercury in dental amalgam fillings poses serious risks to human health, and dental mercury released into the environment can cause long-lasting damage to wildlife.

Many people have heard the term “mercury toxicity” associated with dental fillings but are unsure of exactly what it means: what is it, am I affected by it, and what can I do to remediate it?

Mercury toxicity, also called mercury poisoning, is caused by a high level of mercury in the body. The presence of mercury has been shown to cause wide range of chronic and acute health problems. Problems that have been associated with mercury toxicity affect all major systems in the body including: neurological, gastrointestinal, immune, and cardiovascular, as well as damage to major organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Dental amalgam fillings, which are made with a mixture of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and sometimes zinc, are still used in the United States and a number of other countries. Often called “silver fillings,” all dental amalgams are 45-55% elemental mercury.  Mercury is toxic, and this poison is recognized as a chemical of major concern because it poses a dangerous threat to public health.  Mercury accumulates in the body, and any amount of mercury taken into the body should be considered hazardous.

Removal of silver dental amalgam fillings without safety measures can potentially result in everyone in the dental room exceeding the safety limit of mercury exposure. The amount of mercury released from fillings depends on the number of fillings a patient has and other circumstances, such as chewing, teeth-grinding, and the consumption of hot liquids. Mercury is also known to be released at higher levels during the placement, replacement, and removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings.

Dr. Richard F. Porcelli, is an Interntional  Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)  member with a certification in removing mercury amalgam fillings. He is a Smart Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique [SMART] certified. Dentists who have obtained SMART certification from the IAOMT have completed coursework related to mercury and the safe removal of amalgam fillings. The educational programming includes learning about the application of the rigorous safety measures, including the utilization of specific equipment.is dedicated to sharing dental mercury facts so that professionals and consumers can recognize the threats of amalgam fillings.

Amalgam removal takes place with precautions including:

  • The placement of a rubber dam to isolate the tooth and keep mercury particles from coming into contact with oral tissues.
  • Clean, mercury-free air delivered via a comfortable nasal mask to inhibit the inhalation of mercury particulates.
  • High volume suction with mercury filters to minimize mercury release into the air.
  • Protective garments for dentist and staff.
  • In-office air purifiers to remove mercury particulates from the immediate environment.

Bluffton Center for Dentistry can work with you to determine the best course of treatment to safely remove your existing mercury amalgam fillings, as well as a detoxification program to remove mercury from your body.

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