Greenville SC holistic dentists discuss the importance of safe mercury amalgam removal
In the mid-1800s, land could be bought for $5 an acre, a 4-room rental cost around $5 a month, and a laborer earned less than $1 a day. While most things have certainly changed, at least one thing remains the same: The mercury amalgam fillings that were so popular in the 1840s and 1850s remain in use today. You will not find these fillings at Palmer Distinctive Dentistry. Drs. John Palmer and Debra Adams place fillings that are safe and are made to look just like healthy natural teeth.
Furthermore, Palmer Distinctive Dentistry is also the place in Greenville SC for Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal. This is an important distinction, because many practices avoid the use of fillings that look silver in appearance but actually contain an “amalgam” or mix of metals, including mercury. Yet, the same dental practices that may market themselves as “holistic” or “biological” maintain a potentially dangerous practice: conventional removal of amalgam fillings.
Amalgam fillings contain 43% to 54% liquid or elemental mercury and a powder alloy of silver, tin, and copper. These fillings emit mercury as a vapor or particulate. Vapor is released at a higher rate when the filling is brushed, used to chew food, or when the person with the filling is a chronic teeth-clencher or teeth-grinder (a condition known as “bruxism”). Mercury is also released as vapor or particles when fillings are placed, replaced, and removed. Conventional approaches to removing a filling involve using a high-speed drill and, as the amalgam is “drilled down,” fine mercury particles and vapor are generated.
As an authentically safe holistic and biological dental practice, Palmer Distinctive Dentistry has established safeguards to minimize the exposure that occurs during the filling removal process. These safeguards include a mix of equipment, products, and training that aligns with The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) program. Teaching represents the ultimate understanding in one’s craft. So, Palmer Distinctive Dentistry is proud to note that Dr. John Palmer, a fellow of the IAOMT, teaches the SMART protocol to other dentists. You know you’re in good hands when the instructor is tasked with your filling removal procedure!
From beginning to end, the mercury filling removal process is governed by a strict set of standards to assure the health of Palmer Distinctive Dentistry team members, guests, and the planet:
- In preparation for your procedure, a dental dam is placed to properly “seal” your mouth, isolate the tooth to be treated, and to prevent particulate matter from coming in contact with oral tissues. The dam is made from a synthetic nitrile rubber, which is latex-free and offers excellent resistance to wear and tear.
- A properly-sealed mask is applied to comfortably fit over your nose and mouth, as a means of providing mercury-free air and preventing amalgam particles from being inhaled during the removal process.
- High-speed suction is used to minimize mercury exposure, and equipment is also used to capture mercury that is discharged as the filling is removed.
- Protective gowns, covers, facial shields, and head coverings are worn by the dentist, the staff, and guest. This type of protection is needed, because substantial amounts of amalgam particles produced during the process may escape from suction devices. Particles can spread from the guest’s oral cavity, to his or her knee, and then to the chest, shoulders, and neck of the dentist and assistant.
- Mercury is properly removed to comply with environmental- and public health-oriented regulations, and in-office purifiers are used to assure the air is free of amalgam particulates.
Due to the risks associated with mercury amalgam filling removal, some practices that don’t have these and other safeguards in place may suggest keeping the filling intact – as long as the filling is in good condition. Palmer Distinctive Dentistry encourages you take steps toward a healthier mouth and body. Call (864) 879-6494 to schedule an appointment and discuss your options for treatment. The IAOMT reports around 80% of the vapor emitted by amalgam fillings is absorbed by the lungs, where mercury makes its way to other parts of the body – especially the brain, kidneys, liver, and GI tract. Drs. Palmer and Adams believe no “silver” filling merits a place in your mouth – even if the filling is in “good condition,” and isn’t worn or broken.