For decades, dentists have been using traditional amalgam fillings to restore damaged and decayed teeth. If you are one of these patients who has a shiny piece of silver gleaming from your mouth, you might not be aware of the dangerous side effects it can have on your oral and overall health. William J. Twohig, DDS is dedicated to safe practices, and wants to help.
Exposure to mercury can have a negative effect on various parts of your body, including your brain, nervous system, kidneys and for a pregnant woman, their unborn child. In fact, many dental professionals have shown elevated levels of mercury in their system from years of exposure to the vapor but also from handling materials containing mercury. In addition, during pregnancy, most women are hypervigilant about what they can put into their body. Often following the orders of their dentists, these women may not realize how dangerous amalgam fillings can be to an unborn child. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was revealed that mercury does pose a level of risk for unborn and younger children.
For those individuals that have silver fillings, or amalgams, sitting in the mouth, mercury is constantly being released in the form of an invisible vapor. Amalgam dental fillings are made up of 50% mercury and mercury is a neurotoxin. This toxin is absorbed and retained in organs within our body such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and even our brain.
During the process of removing an amalgam filling the “drilling” process releases even higher amounts of these extremely toxic vapors and small particles or pieces of the amalgam can be inhaled and taken into the body. This is extremely dangerous for not only the patient but also to the dentist and to any dental team member within the treatment room and any close adjoining rooms.
When considering to have old amalgam fillings replaced, when having a broken filling repaired, or if you’re just wanting to get rid of the ugly silver in your mouth, please do your research. Any dentist can remove an old silver filling, but are they doing it SAFELY? What safety measures are in place to protect the patient and dental professionals? What safety measures and protocols are being used to protect the environment? These are all very important questions and the answers being provided are even more important and can aid in helping a patient find a provider that practices safe mercury removal.
William J. Twohig, DDS is SMART certified: Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique
SMART safety measures for patients include but are not limited to: Full body, impermeable barriers. Head/face/neck barriers. External air or oxygen that is delivered through a nasal mask or cannula. A dental dam made of non-latex materials. Aerosol vacuum and conventional high speed evacuation device. Charcoal or a similar absorbent.
Protective gowns, non-latex gloves, face shields and hair nets or coverings, and respiratory grade masks with proper seals are worn by Dr. Twohig and all dental professionals present in the operatory. These safety measurements are taken in addition to the normal personal protective equipment worn during non-mercury removal procedures.
Safeguards are put in place that not only help protect individuals in direct contact but also that help protect our environment. Equipment and devices such as amalgam separators are used to remove amalgam particles from the wastewater to reduce the amount of amalgam entering the sewage system. High volume filtration systems with a flexible and mobile extraction arm are used to capture aerosols directly from the source. Ceiling exhaust fans are ran and windows are opened after each mercury removal procedure in addition to the sterilization and disinfection protocol.
Remember, any dentist came remove and replace an amalgam filling but are they taking into account the health and safety of the patient, themselves, their staff and the environment? It’s important that we educate ourselves, family and friends about the hazardous side effects amalgam fillings can have on the human body and environment around us. Knowledge is power and research is being done daily on the harmful health conditions mercury-based fillings have caused and/ or contributed to.