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I Don’t Want My Metal Fillings Anymore; Can You Help?

Sep 01, 2023
Since we now know how toxic mercury is, many people want the silver amalgam fillings in their teeth removed and replaced with safe materials. Learn about the harm mercury can do and what to expect from the removal and replacement process here.

We know it’s never fun to get a cavity filled, but it’s way better than the pain and discomfort of the alternative — ignoring it until you get a toothache!

Over the decades, the materials that fillings are made from have changed. Years ago, the standard for fillings was durable amalgam — a mixture of metals, about half of which is mercury. Unfortunately, mercury is known to be harmful in many ways to us, and many of our patients come to us seeking removal of their silver fillings and replacement with safe materials.

The team at Plaza Dental Group in West Des Moines, Iowa, offers a needed care subspecialty to their patients — mercury-safe dentistry. They’re invested in removing fillings and other enamel repairs that are made of amalgam and replacing them with materials that are not only safe, but also look better since they match the color of your teeth. 

What are the dangers of amalgam fillings that contain mercury?

Mercury vapors are released slowly — over years and decades — when you have amalgam fillings. Not only do we know that mercury vapors are released when you chew and brush, but they’re also released during the removal and replacement process.

We follow the protocols outlined by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology as we manage your filling removal and replacement. 

Mercury has been found to be toxic and, in fact, the IAOMT has concluded that no amount of mercury in your system is safe. Research has shown that mercury can either contribute to or worsen the following conditions. This is just a partial list:

  • Allergies (especially to mercury)
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Kidney disease

In addition to posing public health risks for humans, mercury has deleterious effects on wildlife and the environment. 

Is there risk in removing my silver fillings, and how is it done?

There is risk that must be avoided when you replace your mercury, and we noted previously that during the filling removal and replacement process, both the patient and dental care team members can potentially be exposed to mercury’s harmful elements. This is why we follow the guidelines that the IAOMT created, known as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART). 

The IAOMT has developed high safety standards for mercury filling removal and replacement. Its guidelines — which the Plaza Dental team adheres to — minimize patient and dental office staff exposure to mercury during procedures as much as possible.

When you come to Plaza Dental Group to have your silver fillings removed and replaced with safe ones, you’ll notice how meticulous our procedures are. We do everything possible to minimize your and our exposure to mercury vapors:

  • You are able to inhale clean air during the entire procedure
  • We use a cold water spray to eliminate mercury residue and vapor from the air
  • We utilize a dental dam, which prevents you from ingesting any toxins
  • We use a state-of-the-art evacuator tool, which removes all debris from your mouth
  • We thoroughly clean out your mouth directly after your amalgam filling removal
  • We carefully place your new, mercury-free filling

During the process, we ensure that you’re comfortable and send you home with detailed instructions on aftercare. 

We encourage you to consult with us if you have even a single amalgam filling. We assess if you’re a candidate, depending on your overall health. For example, if you’re pregnant, the risks posed by silver filling removal and replacement are too great during those nine months, so we encourage these patients to wait until they have their babies to get it done. We make the same recommendation if you’re lactating. 

Mercury-safe dentistry also comes under our commitment to practicing green dentistry, which is an approach that lessens the negative environmental impact that dentistry has on the earth, from paper and X-ray film to mercury waste. 

Call Plaza Dental Group today at 515-224-5999 to schedule an appointment, or book one online