The toothy trouble with amalgam fillings; our safe and holistic approach to cavity repair

The Department of Health in Victoria characterises mercury as a natural substance whose “major threat” to our health comes from mercury poisoning and the inhalation of mercury vapour. To protect against the adverse health effects of mercury, the government further states environmental exposure or risks must be minimised. 

amalgam fillings and our safe, holistic approach to cavity repair at Smile in Style.

Common environmental sources, acknowledged by the state, include certain species of fish and, of interest to Smile in Style and our valued patients, dental fillings. Notably, amalgam fillings contain mercury and do present a risk of exposure. However, not all fillings are a threat. For this reason, our offices in Moonee Ponds and Sunbury place non-toxic and attractive metal-free dental fillings as a common and essential form of cavity repair. These fillings do not contain amalgam.

The trouble with dental amalgam 

“Amalgam” refers to the combination of metals used to make the filling. These metals include silver, copper, zinc, and tin. However, far and away, the most prevalent material in these silver-coloured fillings is mercury. It’s estimated that, on average, each filling is ~50% liquid or elemental mercury by weight. The mercury in our fillings can accumulate in bodily tissues and organs over time. The health department has isolated a few of the many symptoms and conditions associated with elemental mercury poisoning, including: 

  • Persistent migraines and headaches
  • Insomnia and poor sleep quality 
  • Muscle tremors and weakness
  • Numbness
  • Depressed moods, irritability
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Depressed respiratory function

As noted, mercury vapours also present a significant health threat. Mercury is released as fine particles and vapour during the “standard” process of removing amalgam fillings. Due to this, Dr Terry Rose and our team at Smile in Style take special precautions to remove mercury-containing fillings. We have invested in training on many different biological- and holistic-focused protocols. Additionally, our investments span an array of technologies, equipment, and supplies to protect our patients, staff, and the planet.

Moonee Ponds Office
Call: 03 8400 4104 OR
Schedule an Appointment
Sunbury Office
Call: 03 8001 6021 OR
Schedule an Appointment

It should be noted that mercury also represents a threat to our waterways and wildlife. When not handled properly, it can wreak havoc on our water supplies. As responsible neighbours, and environmental and community stewards, we abide by the following safe and healthy processes and procedures:

  • Application of protective products, such as a non-latex rubber dam, to prevent particulate matter from being swallowed as the filling is broken down and removed
  • Administration of supplemental oxygen to further minimise the inhalation of mercury as a vapour 
  • Use of a high-volume evacuation suction as well as air suction to remove particulates and vapour
  • Use of techniques such as removing the filling in larger chunks with cool water, as opposed to smaller pieces that generate greater particles and heat (increasing mercury exposure risks)
  • Removal of mercury from the treatment room and office with the use of air purification systems

Of course, this is just a partial list of the ways that we support safe mercury amalgam removal and handling. To experience our advanced and holistic approach to supporting oral health and overall well-being for yourself, schedule an appointment at Smile in Style today. 

Our Moonee Ponds office team may be reached at 03 8400 4104. Or you can contact our Sunbury team at 03 8001 6021.

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Smile In Style Dental office near Moonee Ponds and Sunbury

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Throughout our site, you will find valuable information about our services that will help you get to know us better. It is our mission to create beautiful white healthy smiles using the latest technologies. Our experienced Dentists and staff aim for lifelong relationships with our patients, providing relevant dental education and continual care throughout life. Here, you can learn more about the various dental conditions that may develop and the ways in which we treat them.
Some of the services you can expect to find at Smile in Style include: Our goal is to work together with you to achieve your healthiest, most attractive smile, whilst ensuring your comfort and satisfaction.

Safe Amalgam Removal Protocol

  • Chlorella drink prior is given prior to treatment and a mouth rinse post-treatment. Chlorella can help bind and prevent mercury absorption.
  • Physical protective barriers - Masks, protective coverings, eyewear, in-mouth non-latex dental dams, and other steps are taken to prevent physical contact with mercury for the patient and staff.
  • Oral evacuation - Generous amounts of water are used to continuously rinse particulate matter from the mouth while suctioning it away. Combined with protective dental dams, this prevents patients from swallowing dental amalgam particles during treatment. Additionally, the rinsing helps lower the temperature of the filling, reducing the amount of mercury vapour released.
  • External air - A continuous supply of non-contaminated air or oxygen is delivered via a mask or similar apparatus, preventing inhalation of mercury vapour or particles.
  • "Chunk it out" method - Rather than using a drill to grind the filling down, it is carefully removed in the largest possible pieces, minimising friction, vaporisation.
  • High Volume Evacuation Suction is used by the dental assistant to remove amalgam particles in the mouth.
  • High Volume Air suction and Air Purifiers are used in the clinical room that is able to remove mercury vapour from the room.
  • Amalgam separator use - This device collects mercury-contaminated waste before it can enter the sewage system, allowing us to dispose of it safely.