Safe Removal of Mercury-based Amalgam Fillings

The dental amalgam is a dental filling material that is generally used to fill in the cavities that are caused by tooth decay. The amalgam is a mixture of different metals that consist of liquids like – mercury and powdered alloy composite of copper and silver.

More than half of amalgam fillings use mercury by weight. The many chemical properties of elementary mercury cause a reaction that binds copper and silver particles together, forming a complete amalgam for the filling procedure. It is also known as silver fillings because they have a silver-like appearance.

  • In this procedure, the dentist will drill the tooth to remove the decay and reshape the cavity for placement of the amalgam filling.
  • Next, the dentist will mix the liquid mercury with the encapsulated powder form of alloy that forms the base of amalgam.
  • The soft amalgam is then placed on your prepared cavity, which hardens to form a solid filling.

The use of metals is always a growing cause of concern in the health sector as today’s environment may have a different impact on your body compared to previous generations.

Dentists and patients always request the removal of amalgam-based fillings due to high mercury content. A safe protocol to replace the silver mercury filling will ensure that the materials are not absorbed while removing.

Many strong alternatives and white composites are available after the removal process. The lab processed materials available today can help to create a healthy mouth environment.

Go here to learn more about White Fillings in Sunshine Coast.

A] Considerations for Removal of Amalgam Fillings

Many factors are considered for amalgam removal requests. The most common ones include – the rate of wear, your diet and lifestyle, normal pressure that is exerted, oral hygiene, and other metals in the mouth.

  • Often the restoration process exists under the crowns and amalgam discolouration among the gums. Amalgams are also used to seal the root canal teeth. If there is heavy pressure exerted in the area, there is evidence of clenching and grinding, which compromises the longevity of the composite restoration process.
  • The size of the restoration process influences the choice of materials. The normal tooth cusps that are available often fracture over time. If there is excessive pressure, then it will require an indirect restoration fabricated by the lab.
  • There is an increasing trend today to work with the computer-generated restoration process. The bite plates to prevent the grinding and clenching help to preserve new restorations from excessive pressure and wear out.

When the patient visits the dentist for an examination, the dentist will check the entire dental history. Records that include dental X-rays and radiographs are taken before the process. A comprehensive exam follows the results of the reports. Lengthy conversations are made to ensure that the patient is well prepared for the process.

  • The dentist evaluates the overall health of the patient and the ability to eliminate toxins.
  • If a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding a child, then the process of removal is not completed until the breastfeeding is completed as the mercury concentration in the blood is thirty times greater than a mother’s milk.
  • The dentist will also provide certain supplements before the removal process. Vitamin C is the most recommended supplement along with others.

Removing silver fillings or replacing them with non-toxic fillings is the most common procedure. Make sure you always visit an experienced dentist who understands how to safely remove the amalgam fillings.

B] Removing Amalgam Fillings Side-Effects

Mercury-laden fillings can have side-effects upon removal. These fillings are a top contributing factor to mercury poisoning. But, this happens in rare cases when there is an issue with the removal process.

  • The normal side-effects of fillings removal are headaches and insomnia.
  • If it goes to an extreme level, then it can cause nerve damage and kidney failure.
  • Most people also complain of muscle pains and joint pains after the removal process.
  • Some also experience problems with concentration and memory.

But eventually, there is an improvement in health after some time. So, there may be subjective health complaints due to the removal process.

Further reading: Ways Your Dental Health Affects You

C] Mercury Fillings Leaking Symptoms

Mercury poisoning is a result of leakage from the amalgam. More than 80% of mercury vapour from the dental amalgam is absorbed by the lungs and then passed on to the rest of the body.

The toxic effects of this mercury depend on person-to-person and body reception. An array of different factors can also influence the reaction to personalized mercury including the presence of other health conditions.

Individual response may vary, but if it is not treated or removed on time, then it can also lead to severe health complications. There is a wide range of symptoms associated with amalgam fillings. High mercury exposure can cause tremors, kidney problems, memory loss, headaches, and nervous system problems.

D] What Do You Need to do After the Amalgam Removal Process?

Once the whole removal process is completed, a patient’s mouth is flushed with water. This procedure is done several times and is followed by a rinse with the slurry of charcoal or similar absorbent.

  1. The Whole Removal Process

There are some steps involved in the removal process to ensure there is minimal absorption of mercury if any.

  • The patient is usually draped with a plastic apron under the general dental bib to cover the clothing.
  • The dental dam is then customized to fit in the existing tooth to prevent the particles from contacting the oral mucosa.
  • Under the dam, the activated charcoal is placed along with the cotton roll and gauze. It helps in the interception of particles and chelates the dissolved metals that seep under the dam. The particles are often found in the sub-lingual tissues of the tongue. This must be prevented, as it can become the fastest absorption route.
  • The patients’ face is then draped under the dam with the liner. 
  1. The Replacement Process

If you’re planning to have your dental amalgam filling replaced, you need to talk to the dentist. There are some safety protocols for the replacement process of the dental amalgam fillings, which includes:

  • Use of the non-latex dental dam.
  • There should be airway protection and your nose should be covered.
  • There must be pressurized air under the dam so that there is air to breathe. The suction process is a crucial step both in front and behind the dam.
  • The room environment needs to have an efficient exhaust system. The air conditioning system in the room should have an external vent.
  • The dentist and the dental staff that assist need to wear protective masks.
  1. When the Process is Complete

After the safe removal of mercury-based amalgam fillings, patients don’t have any metallic taste in the mouth. They can concentrate better, and their body responds better to other treatments after this procedure.

A detoxification process involves having the right food after the removal. Most patients that follow the diet feel better after two or three days.

Further reading: Best And Worst Foods For Your Teeth

E] Should You Remove Your Mercury-based Amalgam Fillings?

The most common reason a filling may require a replacement is the development of a new cavity under the old filling. Most people tend to assume that once the dentist removes the cavity and place a filling, there won’t be a cavity again.

However, this is not true.

A tooth with a filling is at a higher risk of getting a cavity. Plaque or bacteria tend to collect at the edge of dental fillings, especially the mercury-based amalgam filling. To remove the cavity, the dentist may have to replace the filling as it is common for the old metal fillings to develop a crack.

These cracks can be entry points for bacteria to enter the tooth, so they require restoration. Chronic teeth grinding and clenching may also cause significant wear and tear of filling so it may require a replacement.

#Replacement for Metal Fillings

After the process of removal, most people look for the replacement of metal fillings. The most common type of replacement is tooth-coloured composite resin filling. Composite is a better cosmetic option as it’s completely free from any kind of metal, including mercury. It also bonds well to the tooth structure that allows conservative dentistry.

To Conclude,

Times have changed and there are constant updates in the field of dentistry. Earlier mercury-based fillings were an ideal choice for cavity but not any more. Today, people prefer natural alternatives like a white composite filling for teeth.

Contact Oris Dental, your Sunshine Coast Dentist for more details.

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10/7 Nicklin Way

Minyama QLD 4575, Australia

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Book Appointment

(07) 5444 4308 & 1300 70 60 90

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Adarsh (Principal Dentist)


Adarsh (A-Dash) is the principal dentist at Oris Dental. Adarsh graduated as a dentist in 1996 from the University of Mumbai (Bombay, India). He entered private practice as an assistant dentist in one of the leading practices in Mumbai from 1996-2002. The practice offered all aspects of dentistry with the exception of Orthodontics. This prompted Adarsh to pursue a post graduate degree in Orthodontics and successfully completed the 3 year Full time the master’s program from University of Mumbai (Bombay, India) in 2005. Since then, Adarsh has been in private practice both as a general dentist and an orthodontist. He also served as teaching faculty at University in Mumbai for 3 yrs and when in India, he has been ‘the dentist’ to many dentists!! In 2008, Adarsh took the Australian Dental Council exam for direct recognition of his skill in Australia. He successfully completed the exams in the first attempt and moved to Australia early 2009. He has been in private practice in Australia since Jan 2009. Oris Dental was set up in Minyama in 2011. Oris Dental is now over 8 years old and is growing to be a well-respected practice in the area. He is particularly interested in Cosmetic dentistry Dental implants and Orthodontics. Adarsh hopes to use all the experience he has gained in the past 22 years, to offer the best in dentistry to all his patients in this practice. Adarsh believes in spreading smiles and has successfully designed smiles and in doing so improved the lives and self-confidence of many Sunshine Coast locals (Take a look at our Smile gallery!). Adarsh is an active member of the Australian Dental Association since 2009 He held the post of Senior Lecturer in Orthodontics in Mumbai University before moving to Australia. He is a Life member of the Indian Dental Association, serving as the General Secretary of the Association (Mumbai City Chapter) 2007-2009 He is Life member of the Indian Orthodontic Society. He is Candidate for Membership Examination MRACDS (Ortho) and plans to complete his membership exams soon. Adarsh is also currently pursuing his Diploma in Implant dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons(Edinburgh). Adarsh has recently complete intensive training in implant placement and restoration in Neoss and TRI (Swiss) Implant system. He is married to Prachi for 15yrs and they have a 11 yr old son – Aarjav, a little daughter Aria who has just started prep and Daisy the mad Lab pup! He is currently learning to play Tennis and Badminton and loves watching the cricket!

Prachi (Owner/ Dentist)


Prachi is the director, part time dentist at Oris Dental. Prachi graduated in 2002 from Nair hospital dental college, Mumbai (Bombay, India), one of the leading dental schools in Asia. She then worked in multiple private practices across Mumbai (Bombay, India). While working as a dentist in various practices she picked up the positives from them and implemented them into this practice at Oris Dental. She is very friendly by nature and is particularly good at handling children, preventive dentistry and hygiene. Prachi moved to Australia in 2009. Prachi has there on completed her Australian Dental council exams successfully in early 2011 and is now ready to bring in her 12 years of experience to Oris Dental. Prachi also serves as a part time dentist at the Oral Health Services Sunshine Coast in Caloundra Kawana and Nambour as needed.

Davina (Dentist)


Davina has been a part of our family since 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland, Davina has been in private practice in an around the Sunshine coast for a year before joining us full time. Davina shows exemplary skills in building a great relationship and rapport with her patients and is well regarded by her peers. Davina is very highly regarded by her current patients. Davina currently works 3 days a week.

Lise Slack (Dental Hygienist)

Lise Stack

Our dental hygienist Lise Slack is a trained member of the dental team who works together with your dentist in preventing gum diseases and dental decay.

Lise joined OrisDental in 2015 and has worked extensively in private specialist practices. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 1982 and has had specific training and exposure to an extensive range of periodontal conditions and treatment modalities.

Lise’s dad was a professor in dentistry and this is where her love of teeth comes from. She has invented two specialist oral care products which are available in Australia and several international countries. Lise has also lectured at international dental conferences on the maintenance of dental implants and how to help patients care for their teeth once they have contracted periodontitis.

Both adults and children can benefit from having an appointment with a dental hygienist as they are taught how dental diseases occur and how it can be prevented or managed.

Lise is married to Sam and they have two daughters. They value their family time and love adventurous outdoor sports.

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jess has been a part of Oris Dental from the outset in 2011. Always cheerful and welcoming Jess is the star amongst our patients at our practice. If you cannot find Jess in the practice she will be at the beach!


Kaela (Receptionist)

Debra (Receptionist)

Kaela arrived at our practice in early 2021. Coming from eight years of retail experience in Northern NSW, she loves working with people and assisting in any way she can. Kaela has also just finished her training as a dental assistant. You will immediately fall in love with her happy, bubbly personality.

Abby (Sr. Dental Assistant)

Abby (Dental Assistant)

Abby is originally from Hervey Bay, but she has been calling the Sunshine Coast home with her husband and two kids for the past four and a half years. Abby completed her cert III in dental assisting in 2015 and is looking to further her studies In the near future. Abby enjoys camping, playing guitar, and travelling
the world with her family.

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    Dr. Param Dass

    Dr. Param Dass

    Param Dass graduated with a Bachelor in Dentistry from the University of Otago, NZ in 2005. He went on to complete his Bachelor in Medicine from the University of Auckland NZ in 2010.

    Param started working part time in our practice since 2015 with special interest in surgical procedures including Dental implants and bone grafting procedures, Surgical extractions including Wisdom teeth and other minor surgical procedures.

    Param is well known for being gentle and caring in treating patients with dental anxiety and maintains a calm demeanour.

    He is also well trained in working with patients with various levels of anxiety, offering dental treatment under Happy Gas, Twilight sedation or under Full general anaesthetic.

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Brayden hails from North Queensland, having completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at JCU Cairns, practicing in Hobart and outreach dentistry from Mount Isa over the course of his studies. He has worked with us since 2020. Brayden enjoys becoming a part of a community and enjoys the outdoors and sport in his spare
    time. Having only recently moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Brayden is enthusiastic and well versed in all aspects of basic general dentistry and looks forward to bringing North Queensland hospitality to the South East.



    Briar stated off as a trainee dental assistant in our practice mid-2020. She is the youngest member of our practice and is rapidly becoming an integral part of team Oris. Briar completed her Certificate 3 in our practice in 2021 and works full time Dental assistant at Oris Dental.



    Drew is Oris Dental’ newest member, who has only recently moved from his hometown of Rockhampton. He is our Oral Health Therapist, who specializes in oral health education, general check-ups, fillings and more!
    He loves a good chat and a laugh at work. He prioritizes patient’s comfort and likes to encourage an environment where everyone feels a sense of security and safety in the dental setting. When Drew isn’t at work you’ll find him having a refreshing swim at the beach or having his usual dirty chai at his local cafe.



    Jasmine joined our practice in November 2021 and works with our Oral Health Therapist Drew. Jasmine is new to dental assistance, however is quickly taking on any and all challenges that come her way! She loves animals, and spending quality time with her husband and two kids. Welcome to the team!



    Brooke is originally from Brisbane but has been living on the coast since 2017. She brings over 15 years of experience in the dental industry and has had the opportunity to work in London and Melbourne for the Royal Flying Doctors. Brooke enjoys surfing, scuba diving and exploring the many things that the Sunny Coast has to offer.