Dental amalgam is an alloy (mixture) of silver, tin and copper which is combined with an equal amount of mercury. The “silver” fillings in your mouth contain about 50% mercury. Amalgam has been used as a filling material in teeth since the early 1800’s as it has been long regarded as strong, cheap and easy to use. It is widely accepted around the world that mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal.
Contrary to previous belief, numerous scientific studies have shown that amalgam fillings can release significant amounts of mercury over the lifetime of the filling. There is current concern in the wider community, particularly the World Health Organization in regards to safe levels, if any, to mercury exposure. Several European countries including Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have ceased using amalgam as a filling material in recent years.
As there is a continuous release of mercury from dental amalgam, dentists must dispose of scrap amalgam as hazardous waste.
BCD holistic dentists are highly aware of the potential for excess exposure to mercury when removing amalgam fillings. In order to help reduce the amount of mercury exposure to both patients and staff during amalgam removal, we take certain protective measures. These guidelines are laid out by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. (www.iaomt.org)
We are accredited by the IAOMT which certifies training and testing in the basics of biocompatible dentistry, including current methods for safe removal of dental amalgam.
- Use of a rubber dam so that amalgam pieces and vapours are less likely to be ingested.
- A separate air supply is provided over the nose in order to minimise inhalation of mercury vapour.
- Use of a DentAirVac system to specifically to remove and filter potentially toxic vapours away from the immediate breathing area of the patient, dentist and dental assistant.
- A specific single use drill is used to shatter amalgam into chunks , minimising vapour release.
- Maximum suction and irrigation with copious water spray are also applied. This keeps the temperature of the metal down.
- Negative Ion Generators are fitted throughout the clinic to minimize mercury vapour in the clinic and air is ducted outside of the building rather than being re-circulated.
At Bio Compatible Dentistry we are also SMART accredited.
What is SMART? SMART is the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique, which is a set of safety measures to reduce mercury exposures during dental amalgam filling removal. These safety measures were developed as a result of scientific research collected by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
Why does SMART matter? All dental amalgams, also referred to as silver fillings, contain 50% mercury (a neurotoxin) which is constantly released in the form of an invisible vapor. The process of drilling out amalgam fillings releases even higher quantities of mercury vapor and fine particulates that can be inhaled and absorbed through the lungs. This is potentially harmful to patients, dentists, other dental workers, and the fetuses of patients and all dental personnel.
Which dentists are SMART certified? Dentists who have obtained SMART certification from the IAOMT have completed coursework related to mercury and the safe removal of amalgam fillings. The educational programming includes learning about the application of the rigorous safety measures, including the utilization of specific equipment. To maintain SMART certification, your dentist enrolls in the program annually to review the safety measures.
Heavy Metal (Mercury) Detoxification
Alongside any amalgam removal we recommend following a heavy metal (mercury) detoxification protocol. Simply having amalgam fillings removed from the mouth does not ensure removal of mercury from different parts of the body, where it can be stored. Certain foods, herbs, vitamins and other compounds have the ability to mobilise and chelate (bind) to mercury, therefore facilitating its removal from the body.
We suggest you consult with an integrative medical doctor who will carry out a thorough medical assessment for you and supervise your mercury detoxification. A list of doctors who have experience and knowledge in mercury toxicity and detoxification will be given to you at your initial visit to the practice. Alternatively we are happy to work with any practitioner(s) you are under the care of.