Healthy Dentistry

Safe Amalgam Fillings Removal

Have you ever worried about the mercury that exists in your amalgam fillings? If so, you should consider their removal to prevent further exposure to such a toxic substance. Call our amalgam free dental practice on (07) 3210 2055 for more information.

Amalgam Fillings Removal Brisbane

Safe amalgam removal to reduce exposure to neurotoxic mercury vapour

 “Silver” amalgam fillings used in the past are made from approximately fifty percent mercury, and should really be called “mercury” fillings. At Healthy Dentistry in Brisbane's CBD, your decision to remove and replace your existing “mercury” amalgam fillings is taken seriously. To book a consultation, please contact our professional team on (07) 3210 2055.

Team proficiency and special protective measures are undertaken to ensure that patients do not swallow any amalgam debris or inhale mercury vapours released by this toxic metal. These safeguards include:

  • Placing a rubber dam in the patient’s mouth to prevent the swallowing of amalgam pieces and the inhalation of mercury vapour.
  • A dedicated, specially designed drill to carefully break up amalgam to minimize vapour release
  • A combination of an enhanced water spray and maximum suction tools are used to reduce dust and the temperature of the amalgam during drilling
  • The IQAir Dental Pro mercury air filter and purifier which filters mercury as well as bacteria and viruses such as hepatitis from the air around our patients.
  • Scrap amalgam is disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Thinking about removing your amalgam fillings? Schedule a dental assessment with one of Dr Zabik’s team today to discuss your suitability and a potential treatment plan.
safe amalgam removal
Dental HG FlexVac™
 
 

Mercury Vapors


The Dental Hg FlexVac™ is a mobile air cleaning system but additionally features a flexible suction duct. The Dental Hg FlexVac™ excels at capturing drill aerosols, abrasion powder and mercury vapors during dental procedures. The flexible suction duct is typically placed over the patient’s chest to directly capture drill aerosols and mercury vapors before they spread.

The Trouble with Metals

In the past, the options for filling cavities were limited to the use of composite metal forms or inserts. Regrettably, these objects caused many unforeseen problems that were tolerated because there were no better alternatives – that is, until the advent of metal-free dentistry.

One of the main problems with metal being used in a tooth filling has to do with its susceptibility to movement due to temperature changes. When exposed to heat or cold, the metal component would shrink or expand, causing damage to the tooth in which it was inserted. Over time, the constant movement of the fillings will weaken the natural structure of the tooth, resulting in unnecessary – and expensive – repairs.

Frequently exposed to hot and cold foods and beverages, erratic temperature changes in the mouth are to be expected. With the metals in the fillings constantly in flux, the tooth with the metal insert will gradually weaken and become vulnerable to bacterial infection. This knock-on effect can produce dire consequences when the bacteria are allowed to spread – causing decays and gum diseases.

Through no fault of their own, patients with metal fillings may find themselves requiring root canal treatment or having to deal with gum disease. Many of them will never even find out that the root cause of their dental woes actually began with something as innocuous as their metal fillings.

The Rise of Metal Free Dentistry

Thankfully, metal-free dentistry has emerged as a full-fledged technology that has helped to eliminate many of the problems posed by metal being used in a tooth filling or metal crown.

The unfortunate spike in dental diseases has spurred research into more suitable materials for fillings, crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers. It was discovered that certain malleable and biocompatible materials – like porcelain – worked extremely well as teeth restoration materials, even better than metals. These non-toxic materials were found suitable for dental restorations ranging from fillings to dental implants. Unlike their metal counterparts, these alternate materials do not render the restored tooth prone to infection or temperature-induced expansion/contraction.

Other important features of non-metal fillings include their aesthetic quality and robustness. Fillings made from porcelain or composite materials are virtually undetectable in your mouth. This is a far cry from metal fillings that give your restored tooth a dark silver-coloured spot. Modern tooth-coloured fillings blend in perfectly with your existing teeth for a beautiful and seamless restoration.

While metal fillings are prized for their strength and durability, today’s fillings made of composite materials are stronger than ever. This is attested by the fact that they are now being used on molars – and holding up very well to the pressures of chewing and biting that these particular teeth are constantly subject to. In fact, it is even technically possible to restore teeth back to their original tensile strength using these alternate materials.

Today’s materials are also more easily customized to the patient's needs. The material can be applied directly onto the tooth with precise control – a major advantage over the lead and mercury fillings of old. As such, less material is required to fill the tooth using the biocompatible resin. This accounts for a significant cost adjustment when compared to metal fillings. Further, the resin that bonds with the tooth will not constrict or expand when the temperatures change – which eliminates the possibility of tooth damage.

What you need to know about mercury (amalgam) fillings

Mercury has to be one of the most harmful metals in existence. The deadliest form of the metal is in its gaseous state. Due to its lack of distinctive smell, mercury vapour can be easily inhaled without us ever noticing. Unwitting inhalation of mercury vapour occurs most commonly amongst people who have dental amalgams in their tooth fillings. Research carried out by the World Health Organization has linked amalgam fillings to the bulk of mercury found in human bodies.

Mercury vapours, gradually emitted from amalgams, passing through our lungs – metabolized into methyl mercury – pose a poisonous threat to the human body.

The methyl mercury inhibits our cellular ability to create energy and perform vital bodily functions. This potentially fatal process has led many in the dental profession and industry to rethink their use of amalgam fillings.

At Healthy Dentistry, we encourage our patients to undergo a safe removal of their silver amalgam fillings – to be replaced with white composite alternatives. What you get from this simple replacement process is a more natural looking smile and a healthier body.

Why holistic dentists choose white fillings

In the past, dental amalgam was the only option for filling a cavity. Patients had to put up with its distinctive colour – that makes it noticeable in the mouth – and less than ideal smiles. The search for an alternative filling has intensified as more patients become aware of the controversial issues surrounding the use of mercury fillings in the mouth. Research has linked dental amalgams to potential health hazards from exposing patients to continuous and toxic amounts of mercury.1 The mercury content in dental amalgams is close to 50%.

Until recently, tooth coloured restorations were mainly used for cosmetic purposes, as they were deemed to lack the strength and durability of traditional amalgam fillings. However, modern technologies in the area of dental adhesion, lasers and state-of-the-art ceramics have vastly improved the properties of non-metal fillings such that they even come close to rivalling a natural tooth in appearance, strength, wear and function. Today’s composite restorations can provide the resilience and strength to even rebuild damaged teeth in molars – the teeth subject to the most rigorous use.

As a team of Brisbane dental care professionals that believe in looking after every aspect of your health and wellbeing, Healthy Dentistry is proud to be a mercury-free practice. That is why we choose metal-free white composite fillings that do not assume the potential health risks associated with dental amalgams. Our cosmetically superior tooth-coloured restorations not only provide you with a beautiful smile, they restore the strength and function of your teeth while protecting your body from any direct or indirect health hazards.

Benefits of white composite fillings

White composite fillings are essentially composed of a highly viscuous substance known as resin, in combination with other synthetic materials. The unique composition makes it highly wear resistant, adaptable to colour changes and easy to polish. The most obvious benefit of choosing a tooth-coloured restoration is that it appears more natural when you smile, talk or laugh. However, white composite fillings offer many more advantages than just cosmetic ones.

Let’s take a look at the benefits and why you should consider replacing your dental amalgam with these non-metal restorations:

  • Aesthetics: Composite fillings allow dentists to treat decay with a filling material that mimics the natural appearance of real teeth. Not only they look more natural, white fillings do not tarnish or darken over time the way silver amalgam fillings do.
  • Less invasive treatment: The procedure for applying amalgam fillings require more tooth structure to be removed in order to provide the necessary retentive strength to hold it in place. Composite fillings, on the other hand, require minimal tooth preparation as they are directly bonded to the tooth.
  • Preserve more of your healthy teeth: Since composite fillings require less tooth structure to be ground down or removed, they preserve more of your healthy teeth and promote overall stability of the structure. Preservation of tooth structure also means lowering the risk of weakening the tooth, hence composite restorations are less likely to break or crack off.
  • No discolouration or colour leaks: Known as ‘amalgam tattoo’, amalgam fillings can leave a discoloured mark inside of the tooth and gums. Once the discolouration leaches into the tissue, it would permanently stain it with a dark shade. Not composed of metal alloys, composite fillings do not pose any discolouration problems.
  • Less tooth sensitivity: Composite fillings do not cause gum sensitivity and irritation the way dental amalgams do. Tooth sensitivity can sometimes occur when a large filling is placed next to a nerve. This type of tooth sensitivity is more acute for patients with metal alloy fillings, especially when the metal filling comes into contact with hot or cold beverages in the mouth. By comparison, white fillings are poor conductors of temperature, which make them a safer and more comfortable alternative.
  • Exact tooth shade: Using a shade guide, a composite filling can be made to match the existing shade of your tooth. The shade guide allows the dentist to select the most appropriate shade to achieve the most natural-looking restoration in your mouth.

White filling cost vs benefits

As you can see, there are many benefits to placing – or replacing your old amalgam fillings with – a composite white filling. Since composite fillings require more dental skills, treatment time and higher material costs, white fillings are also more expensive to place than dental amalgams. The treatment cost for placing white fillings is, on average, about 20% more than for amalgam fillings.

There is no straightforward answer as to which type of restoration is more suitable for you. You should consult your Brisbane holistic dentist before making a decision, based on your individual preference and circumstances.

If you want a healthier smile that is void of mercury and its toxic elements, call Healthy Dentistry at (07) 3210 2055.

Reference

  1. "Amalgam (Silver) Fillings and Holistic Health." Assure Smile. August 19, 2010. http://www.assureasmile.com/miami-dentist-blog/amalgam-silver-fillings-and-holistic-health/

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