Metal fillings, known as amalgam fillings, were a common dental restoration in past decades. These fillings have a big problem, they contain mercury, a known toxic substance that can cause nervous system disorders and other problems. When these fillings are replaced, the mercury can give off mercury vapor. Fortunately, there is now a safe way to remove fillings containing mercury.
It’s called SMART, which stands for Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique, and it’s a set of protocols and recommendations developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, the IAOMT. A special certification is given to dentists who have undergone the SMART program.
The SMART program includes specific recommendations to protect patients and providers during the filling removal procedure. Personal protective masks, water irrigation, and high volume suction are the mainstays of protective equipment.
Along with protective equipment, these are some of the additional recommendations for safe mercury removal:
- Using an amalgam separator to collect mercury amalgam waste material and keep it from being released into the air
- Each room used for the procedure must have a high-volume air filtration system to remove mercury vapor and amalgam particles
- Windows should be open, whenever possible, to reduce the amount of mercury in the air
- The patient should rinse with a solution containing charcoal or other absorbent, before the mercury amalgam fillings are removed
- A dental dam should be placed on the patient to contain mercury and amalgam particles during removal
- To protect the patient’s clothing, a full-body barrier covering the patient should be used.
These are just a few of the recommendations and protocols to ensure safety during mercury amalgam filling removal. For a complete listing of guidelines, please visit this link: https://iaomt.org/resources/safe-removal-amalgam-fillings/?_ga=2.32902654.1302658872.1575763579-221683555.1575763579
Metal fillings containing mercury are used less and less each passing year. There are other mercury-free dental restorations for you to consider. One of these options is tooth-colored fillings, which are beautiful and natural looking, and they also are completely free of mercury.
These fillings use composite, a unique liquid resin that can be matched to the color of your teeth, providing a virtually indistinguishable dental restorative treatment.
To find out more about safe mercury amalgam filling removal and other mercury-free restorative options,
call East Lyme Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (860) 739-3447.