Removal & Replacement of Amalgam at Swiss Smile
There are multiple arguments about the efficiency of amalgam. Consisting of approximately 50% of mercury, amalgam contains a heavy metal that is considered to be poisonous. With an aim to recommend and provide the best and safest oral care to our patients, we at Swiss Smile conducted an in-depth analysis of amalgam and how safe it is as a medical practice.
What is Amalgam?
Essentially, a type of dental filling material used to fill cavities caused due to tooth decay, amalgams have been used for over 150 years by hundreds of millions of patients around the world. The term ‘dental amalgams’ refers to a mixture of metals, primarily consisting of elemental mercury and powdered allow composed of silver, tin, and copper. In dental terms, we also refer to amalgam as ‘silver fillings’, as they are silver-like in appearance.
Why Is Mercury Used In Amalgam Fillings?
The main purpose of using high volumes of mercury in amalgams is to make the filling pliable. When mercury is mixed with an alloy powder, it becomes a compound, which is soft and can be pressed into the tooth. In due time, the mixture hardens and can then withstand the force of biting and chewing.
The Potential Risks of Amalgam Fillings
Mercury amalgam fillings could be potentially dangerous as they contain low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled into the lungs. Multiple studies show that high levels of mercury vapor exposure can lead to bioaccumulation in the brain and kidney. This term bioaccumulation refers to the build-up or steadily increasing levels of a chemical in organs or tissues in the body. For example, mercury from dental amalgams is bioaccumulative. Besides inhaling the mercury, the metal can find its way into the body through various different ways, like gum chewing, teeth grinding or drinking carbonated beverages.
It is assumed that it could cause several chronic diseases such as headaches, allergies, or vision and hearing disorders. In fact, amalgam fillings during pregnancy are frowned upon. After amalgam removal, it was reported in many cases that a significant improvement of general health occurred. While there are still debates regarding the safety of amalgam, it is generally agreed upon that vulnerable individuals should not be exposed to amalgam fillings, some of which are listed below:
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
- Individuals with sensitivities to mercury
- Patients with kidney disease
Safe Removal of Amalgam Fillings At Swiss Smile
Some studies show that over time as the amalgam weakens, the level of mercury in the body increases. Moreover, additional mercury can also enter the body during amalgam replacement, when rotating the cutting tool, which is known as the dental bur, to chip away at the filling.
At Swiss Smile, we understand the risks related to amalgam removal and hence, we have a team of professionals who are proficient at carrying out such activities. We ensure to carry out certain precautions to protect our patients during the removal process, which are listed below:
- Circulation of fresh air in the treatment room
- Patient draping to prevent skin contact
- Use of a saliva ejector and water spray
- Cutting away the filling in large pieces
- Isolation of the tooth with the amalgam filling by application of rubber dam
We conduct these procedures to ensure that our patients do not come in contact with the mercury in the fillings, either through inhalation or skin contact. Moreover, we ask the patient to rinse after the procedure with charcoal, or similar substances, to ensure any lingering traces of mercury are removed.
Avail the Best Amalgam Replacement
In most cases, the procedure doesn’t end at amalgam removal. So, what to do after amalgam removal? Once the amalgam fillings have been removed, a restorative procedure needs to begin, wherein, the filling needs to be replaced with a new material that does not contain any mercury. Typically, we make use of materials that are made of porcelain or resin materials, like a Cerec crown. The purpose of using such material is that the material matches the color of the remaining teeth, thereby stabilizing the tooth permanently and creating a more attractive physical appearance. Mentioned below are a couple of benefits of getting ceramic restorations over mercury fillings:
- Completely non-toxic
- Natural coloring to match the shade of your tooth
- Require the removal of less natural tooth structure
- Material is strong and durable
If you’re looking to know more about the benefits of removing amalgam fillings, or for a specialist who replaces your amalgam filling at a fair price, book your appointment at Swiss Smile’s nearest dental clinic today!
Do you have any questions or do you need any advice?
We will be pleased to be of service and to provide you with individual support.