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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.