Mercury-free dentistry is when a dental office has chosen to take precautionary steps to eliminate the use of mercury in its practice. Health and environmental issues, and advances in technology, have given us the information and the ability to remove the use of mercury from dental practices. Our dental practice is committed to ensuring that we use treatment procedures that are recognized as healthy for you.
Replacing a Mercury Filling
It is important to note that we do not hastily replace every amalgam filling that we encounter. We take into consideration:
- If there are signs of decay, either on a dental radiograph or visually in the mouth.
- If there are signs that the filling (or fillings) is causing negative effects on your health.
- If there is evidence that the health and vitality of the tooth needs a restoration.
When replacing amalgam fillings, we are committed to using precautions to decrease the escape of mercury vapors by using high volume suctions and other devices to contain the metal debris.
Why are we mercury free?
There are a number of health and environment reasons why we believe that mercury fillings are not the best health option for our patients and why Dr. Vaida is committed to being recognized as a mercury free dentist.
Dental decay and breakage of amalgam fillings:
- Amalgam fillings expand and contract, which can cause micro fractures where bacteria enter – causing decay. The expansion and contraction can also put excess force on the remaining tooth structure – causing tooth fracture or breakage.
- The metal in a Mercury filling causes decay to go unnoticed in dental x-rays.
The health risks involved in using mercury fillings:
- Mercury exposure: Every time you eat and put pressure on your amalgam filling, trace amounts of mercury vapour are released. This occurs for as long as the filling is in the mouth. The vapour is either inhaled or dissolves in your saliva, which you swallow. It can then be absorbed by the lungs and retained by the body. The mercury accumulates in all body organs and tissues but principally in the kidney, with lower amounts in the brain, lung, liver, gastrointestinal tract and exocrine glands.
- Amalgam is known to cause allergic hypersensitivity in a small fraction (estimated at 2% to 3%) of the population.
There are environmental risks involved in using mercury fillings:
- Dental amalgam is often the largest source of mercury in municipal wastewater: in the soil through wastewater sludge, land disposal and the burial of deceased persons with fillings. It is also an important source of mercury air pollution from wastewater sludge incineration and cremation due to the amalgam retained in the teeth of the deceased (source: World Health Organization)
- According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the use of mercury in tooth fillings represents some 10% of global mercury consumption. UNEP estimates global use of dental mercury at between 300 – 400 metric tonnes per year.
For more information on mercury and mercury fillings check out the following websites:
- The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
- The World Health Organization
- Health Canada
- The Minimata Treaty
- European Commission
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
Find out more about Composite Dental Fillings – a healthier option.
Contact our office for a dental appointment – Coquitlam’s Altitude Dental has professional, friendly and caring staff to help you have the dental health you need and want. Or read more about other dental services available at Altitude Dental.