Amalgam Removal

Amalgam fillings are the silver mercury fillings that were placed in teeth by dentists prior to the development of composite and ceramic technology. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is mercury by weight which is a toxic material when ingested. Due to normal wear and tear from daily usage, chewing food, or grinding teeth, the fillings can slowly release mercury. This mercury is absorbed in the soft tissues of the mouth and may slowly build up in our bodies. Mercury is a neurotoxin and, at certain levels, can cause neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses, and mental disorders. To what degree the mercury leaks in amalgam fillings and the overall impact this has on a person is still unclear. Regardless, patients may choose to replace these fillings with new-aged fillings to be on the safe side.

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Aside from the potential toxicity of the mercury in the amalgam, there are several other reasons you may want to consider replacing your amalgam fillings:

  • Amalgam fillings expand and contract with temperature changes (due to hot or cold foods) and can cause the surrounding tooth structure to crack and fracture. In some cases, the tooth can split and require extraction.
  • As they are not bonded, Amalgam fillings often leak overtime leading to decay
  • Silver fillings are unsightly and can be replaced with much more aesthetic options.

At WA Dental we practice safe removal of amalgam to protect our patient’s well-being as well as the environment. We follow these safety guidelines when replacing the restorations:

  • Effective isolation is used to prevent excess amalgam particles from being absorbed or ingested into the body. A rubber dam may be placed if there are a lot of restorations being replaced.
  • Water cooled drills are used to minimize the amount of mercury vapour produced.
  • Mercury vapor is avoided by cutting the fillings into large chunks.
  • A high volume suction system quickly collects the amalgam particles and mercury vapor.
  • A composite or porcelain restoration is then placed.

Whether you are looking to remove your old fillings for health reasons or to improve the overall appearance of your smile, we will ensure that amalgam removal is safe for you and the environment while being replaced with high quality, aesthetically pleasing alternative, such as composite filling or crown. There are also situations where a patient will come in with an amalgam tooth that has broken too much to be saved, and therefore we will discuss replacement options such as dental implants.