Safe solutions for amalgam removal in Sunbury

Patient sitting on the dentist chair

“Do I really want mercury in my mouth?” It is a question increasingly pondered by residents of Sunbury, and other communities across the globe. Unfortunately, many of those people already have mercury, in the form of dental amalgam in their mouths. Naturally, the next questions to ask are about safe filling removal options.

What you should know about the wrong way to remove amalgams

Removing a filling is  quite a routine dental procedure. It may be necessary if the filling is damaged, the tooth is decayed, the patient wants something more attractive, or many other reasons. The fastest and simplest way to accomplish the removal of a filling is by drilling it out.  This creates some heat and lots of small particles. As long as the filling material is non-toxic, those issues are not a problem.

What happens if the above described filling removal procedure is used for dental amalgams? The friction and heat of the dental drill releases mercury vapor into the air, which may be inhaled by the patient as well as the dental team. Small particles (drilling dust) may enter the air and may also be inhaled. The patient may also inadvertently swallow some particles. Lastly, the particles which are washed down the drain can contribute to mercury contamination of  wastewater treatment systems.

Since dental amalgam fillings contains about 50 percent mercury, which is a powerful neurotoxin, you might expect its use to be strictly regulated. In some countries it is banned or its use is extremely limited, but Australia is not among them. The Australian Dental Association simply recommends limiting dental amalgam use in certain vulnerable groups but asserts its overall safety. Similarly, the Australian Dental Industry Association recommends – but does not require – the use of amalgam separators for preventing environmental pollution.

Essentially, nearly all special precautions that can protect patients, dental staff, and the environment are optional. If you are seeking safe amalgam filling removal, it is advisable to learn about your dentist’s protocol, as well as his or her philosophies regarding dental amalgam and oral healthcare in general.

When you choose a Smile in Style dentist, you can feel confident that your oral health is in good hands. Dr. Rose is a long time member of the IAOMT (International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology), and founded this practice on the principles of biocompatible, holistic, patient-centric dentistry. He has assembled a talented, passionate team of dental professionals who share his philosophies and commitment to excellence.

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

What you need to know about safe amalgam removal

Smilling lady looking back

We use the  SMART (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique), which is an evidence-based protocol developed by the IAOMT. It includes a number of proactive steps to protect you, the clinical team, and the environment.

This protocol includes:

  • Physical protective barriers – Masks, protective coverings, eyewear, in-mouth dental dams, and other steps are taken to prevent physical contact with mercury.
  • 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 vapor released.
  • External air – A continuous supply of non-contaminated air or oxygen is delivered via a mask or similar apparatus, preventing inhalation of  mercury vapor 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, and particles.
  • Amalgam separator use – This device collects mercury-contaminated waste before it can enter the sewage system, allowing us to dispose of it safely.

Who is a good candidate for amalgam filling removal?

Smilling lady with showing her brighter teeth

There are three primary reasons that motivate patients to get rid of mercury amalgam restorations. These are:

  • Damage – Nearly any dentist will agree that a filling needs to be removed if the underlying tooth is decayed, broken, or otherwise damaged. Because dental amalgam fillings expands and contracts with changes in temperature at a different rate than tooth enamel does, there is frequent stress around the restoration.  This can lead to micro-fractures or cracks in the tooth.
  • Aesthetics – A new amalgam filling is bright silver, and quite noticeable. Over time, it will darken, and may possibly stain the surrounding tooth. More and more people are choosing white fillings that look just like tooth enamel, so that the filling appears natural and healthy.
  • Safety – Despite the reluctance of dental boards and regulatory agencies to phase out dental amalgams and recommend alternative materials, patients are seeking mercury-free dentistry for many reasons. Some are concerned about potential mercury exposure, while others don’t want any kind of metal in their mouths.

If you are seeking safe amalgam removal performed with the SMART protocol, call Smile in Style. You can reach our Sunbury office at 03 8001 6021 or book online

For our Moonee Ponds office at 03 8400 4104 or book online


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