Greenville, SC area dentist discusses the safe removal of mercury fillings
When silver amalgam fillings first came out in the 1800s, they were considered a great advancement in dentistry. For well over a hundred years, they remained the material of choice for fillings. However, advancements in technology along with research have found that there are safer, more biocompatible options for restoring decayed teeth.
At Palmer Distinctive Dentistry, we are a mercury-free practice, which means we do not place any amalgam fillings. Instead, we use composite resin and porcelain in our restorations as healthy and beautiful choices. Because many patients have amalgam fillings that have been in their mouth for years, we also offer the removal of mercury feelings. We follow the guidelines set forth by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology for the safe removal of these fillings.
Removing a filling is something that can be done by any dentist; however, not all dentists are trained and skilled in the safe removal of mercury fillings. Without following proper protocol and safety measures, patients can be exposed to high levels of the toxic mercury.
In the traditional removal of fillings, the dentist simply drills it out, creating heat and particle debris. To remove an amalgam filling safely, it must be done in chunks with proper suction and ventilation to reduce the risk of particles in the air. We use a combination of physical protection, filtration, suction, and proper disposal to ensure that the patients, staff, and environment are not harmfully exposed.
The procedure takes a little longer than traditional removal of a filling; however, the extra time taken for safety precautions is very important. To ensure patient comfort we use local anesthetic to numb the area prior to removal. Patients who have dental anxiety can inquire about our sedation options for added comfort.
After the mercury filling has been removed, it will be replaced with a safe, biocompatible alternative. In many cases, we can simply place a composite resin filling. However, in some cases, a porcelain crown may be needed for the tooth.
For more information on the proper practices for safe removal of mercury fillings in the Greenville, SC area, call Palmer Distinctive Dentistry.