Amalgam filling removal is performed with specific points in our Central, HK practice
Most adults who received fillings as children were treated with dental amalgam. This material has been the most commonly used filling material for over fifty years. Seen as more affordable than gold or other materials, amalgam took center stage many years ago, and is still widely accepted as safe by a number of organizations and dentists. Dr. Titania Tong is a dentist who sees the danger in dental amalgam, proven by numerous studies. She does not place amalgam fillings. Moreover, when a patient desires to have amalgam fillings taken out, we follow a strict removal process in our Central HK office.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, of which Dr. Tong is a proud member, has listed precise steps that are recommended for the safe removal of amalgam fillings. The benefit of the steps followed by Dr. Tong is a significant decrease in the exposure to mercury. If these fillings are removed with the standard technique of drilling, a great number of mercury particles are released into the air, unnecessarily exposing the patient, dentist, and staff to the poisonous substance.
Some of the points covered by the protocol we follow include:
Cut and cool
Amalgam fillings may be removed by simply drilling them away. When warmed, however, amalgam fillings release toxic mercury vapors, which are breathed in and absorbed by the skin. Cutting an amalgam filling, rather than drilling it, decreases the potential for tiny particulates in the air. Filling material is also kept cool with a continuous stream of water, keeping vapor to a minimum.
The idea of suction throughout the entire removal procedure is to remove any tiny particles that are released immediately. More than standard suction, amalgam removal is performed with high volume evacuation (HVE). This device is placed near to the patient’s mouth, and runs continuously throughout the treatment process.
Non-latex rubber dam and gloves
Placing a rubber dam around the tooth further limits the boundaries of mercury released during cutting. Latex-free dams and gloves prevent mercury from reaching tissues in and around the mouth, as well as the hands of the dentist and staff. As soon as amalgam fillings are removed, the dam is lifted and properly disposed of.
It may seem somewhat strange to cover the face entirely during dental treatment. However, we take mercury exposure very seriously, as this toxic substance poses a significant risk to health. Covering the face with a towel helps us ensure that no particles land on the skin or in the eyes.
Mercury particulates released during removal can be microscopic and easily breathed. Providing our patients with supplemental air, we eliminate the risk that mercury vapors or particulates are immediately breathed in.
Amalgam fillings and the mercury they contain pose a risk to health. Removing these fillings requires consideration to these risks so that the patients, or our staff, are not subjected to undue exposure.
For the safe removal of amalgam fillings, contact the office of Dr. Titania Tong.Back to Mercury Free Dentistry Page