A "silver" filling's main ingredient is mercury. Dental amalgams are comprised of mercury (50 -54%), silver (~22-32% ), tin (~14%),copper (~8%), and other trace metals. Each time you chew on a mercury amalgam filling, a quantifiable amount of mercury is released into your bloodstream. If you grind your teeth, or drink a lot of hot beverages, the numbers are even higher. Heavy metals affect each individual differently, and when removing mercury amalgam fillings, there is a large amount of vapor that is released. This vapor is more dangerous than playing with mercury like you may have as a kid, or even eating pieces of hardened mercury filling. When removing a mercury amalgam filling, small particles of mercury are created that are the size of microns.
Dr. Dover will give the patient activated charcoal before the procedure, place an oxygen nose for the patient to breathe through, a special adaptor called a "clean up" on the high-volume evacuator tip, a filter on the patient's chest right under his or her nose, and will either use an Isolite suction, or a rubber dental dam to keep any mercury filling from being ingested. For patients who desire chelation therapy with amalgam removal, we work with a naturopathic physician who holds her MD and is board certified and Family Medicine and Internal Medicine. She may give you a provoked and unprovoked urine mercury screening to determine if chelation therapy at amalgam removal is the correct treatment option for you.
These small particles are easily absorbed by your gum tissue and into your lungs. Mercury amalgam fillings need to be replaced for a number of different reasons, and our office strives to protect both the patient and ourselves when we replace these fillings. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology's (IAOMT.org) mission is to raise awareness about the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings. The Academy has published guidelines for dentists to follow when removing these types of fillings.