There are thousands of different materials used in dentistry. Some have been proven safe and bio-compatible. Others are allowed by law because they have not been proven to be hazardous. The distinction may sound like a technicality until you consider the potential repercussions of having a toxic material in your mouth.
Dental amalgam is a highly controversial material. You may know this material as “silver fillings,” but it is actually made from a blend of metals, about half mercury. There is no dispute about the dangers of mercury itself. It is the second deadliest element on earth, surpassed only by plutonium. However, it is proposed to be stable when blended with the other elements in amalgam.
Extensive research and scientific studies of the risks associated with amalgam have returned mixed results. Some, which are frequently referenced by regulatory agencies, have concluded that the amount of mercury a dental patient is exposed to falls within acceptable levels. However, other researchers have arrived at very different conclusions, particularly when they factor in the vapor that is released when chewing. There is no universally accepted proof that amalgam is harmful in any way. However, it is very unnecessary with the vast array of alternative materials available today.
As a holistic dental clinic, Parliament Hill Dental is keenly aware of the effects that dental materials and techniques have on your entire body and overall well-being. For a material to meet our standards it must be proven safe, and be something that we personally feel good about using. While amalgam is perfectly legal and professed to be safe by many dentists, we in our office, do not use mercury filing.
The terms mercury free and mercury safe is often confused, but they have different meanings. As the name implies, a mercury-free dental practice such as Parliament Hill Dental does not use any product or material that contains mercury and we are properly trained in removing amalgam dental restorations.
The traditional method of removing a filling is essentially drilling it out and the greatest risk of mercury exposure comes from vapors. When amalgam is exposed to friction, even at very low levels, it emits mercury vapor. Therefore, removing a filling can expose the patient (and dental staff) to exceedingly high levels of mercury vapor, as well as particles that can fall in the mouth and enter the lungs.
Mercury safe dentists follow strict protocols set forth by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology to remove old dental amalgams without endangering the dentist or the patient. The air is filtered for particulate matter, and a dental dam is used to prevent any debris from entering the patient’s mouth. The filling is also removed differently, in large pieces with minimal cutting, drilling, or manipulation of the amalgam.
If you are looking for skilled, holistic dentists who have your best interest at heart, call (613) 233-1118 and schedule an appointment with our team today.