Lawrence patients ask, "Should I consider dental amalgam filling removal?By Dr. Les Miller
Lawrence patients who have had dental cavities filled are sometimes surprised to learn that those fillings are made of metals, which contain up to 50 percent mercury. If you’re wondering if your dental fillings contain mercury, look into a mirror and open wide. If your fillings are dark or silver in color, it’s likely that they are amalgam fillings.
While for many years, metal fillings were used because the material was thought to be safe and durable, in recent years it has been a hot topic as mercury has been found to be dangerous for humans. Studies have shown a connection between high exposure to mercury and various diseases or disorders including that of the brain, kidneys, and immune system. Making matters worse is that mercury exposure increases as the metal is heated, which occurs when patients brush their teeth, have them professionally cleaned, chew their food, or grind their teeth.
Because of the danger of mercury exposure, Dr. Les Miller and Dr. Kelly Miller are committed to only using mercury-free materials when treating cavities. However, in most cases, removing metal fillings is only suggested if the filling has started to chip or crack, or if this patient has a medical reason to feel that the mercury exposure is putting his or her health and well-being at risk.
Patients who opt to have their metal fillings replaced with mercury-free fillings will need to find a dentist who has been trained on the correct procedure to remove the metal fillings. Because removing amalgam fillings can put the patient, the dental team, and the dentist at risk for mercury exposure, the dental team must follow specific protocols to protect all individuals and the environment. For example, safety measures including placing barriers around the tooth that’s being treated, using oxygen to filter the air, and removing the filling in large pieces rather than small to reduce the amount of vapor that is released into the air. Furthermore, the patient, the dentist, and his or her team will all wear protective materials and the filling will be disposed of properly to ensure it doesn’t affect the environment.
If you’re concerned that your fillings may be made of mercury and want to discuss having them removed, call Dr. Les Miller or Dr. Kelly Miller today to learn more about the risks, benefits, and details of the procedure.
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