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Safe Mercury Removal

The use of amalgam in dentistry is one of the most controversial topics in healthcare today. Although it is often referred to as “silver” filling material, amalgam is a blend of several metals, including approximately 50 percent mercury. Yes, we are talking about the second most toxic element on earth, and countless dentists put it in their patient’s mouths every day.

Concerns about amalgam
The issue of amalgam is complicated by a great deal of scientific disagreement, although one fact is not disputed: Amalgam fillings emit mercury vapor. How much vapor they emit, and how much mercury a person can tolerate without ill effects are hotly debated points. The FDA chose not to ban the use of amalgam based on studies that determined a filling releases an amount of mercury below the level that is deemed toxic.

This point is disputed by many scientists and medical professionals who point out that heat and friction (such as chewing) increase the mercury vapor significantly. Holistic, biological, and other health-conscious dental professionals who hold themselves and their practices to higher standards have eliminated amalgam from their practices. Most cosmetic dentists have discontinued it because metal fillings are unattractive. Others will continue to use and defend amalgam as long as it is legal.


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Problems with removal
The amalgam debate leaves health-conscious patients with a quandary. Those who have concerns can choose a mercury-free dentist for new dental work. However, it is not so simple for individuals who already have amalgam fillings. Whether you are concerned about the health effects, you want a more cosmetic tooth colored filling, or your old amalgam filling is failing, you might think that having it removed is a simple solution.

Unfortunately, traditional methods of filling removal pose a new set of problems. The same people who assure us that amalgam is safe, advise against having it removed because the procedure removal can subject a person to far greater amounts on mercury than keeping the filling. The typical technique for removing fillings is to drill them out. The combination of heat and friction generate vapor, which along with particulate matter in the air, can lead to significant exposure for the patient and the dental staff. Additionally, the amount of vapor released is relative to the amount of surface, and the smaller the particles become, the greater the total surface area becomes.

A safe solution
Although the traditional method of removing fillings generates harmful levels of mercury exposure, there are better ways. Dr. Kwon is a proud member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), an organization dedicated to promoting health and safety through evidence based sound dental practices and the use of non-toxic materials. They have developed a protocol for the safe removal of amalgam fillings, using a multi-faceted approach to protect the patient and the dental team throughout the process.

Glassell Dental is both mercury free (we do not place amalgam) and mercury-safe (we adhere to IAOMT protocol when removing amalgam). We are located in Orange, CA proudly serving residents throughout Orange County and beyond. We would love to help you achieve the dazzling, radiantly healthy smile that you deserve. Call our office at 714-532-5600 and schedule an appointment today.

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