A cavity calls for your dentist to remove the decay and to fill in the tooth area that was removed in order to prevent further decay and strengthen the affected tooth. There have been lots of advances in modern dentistry that make this process much more comfortable and use materials that are safer and more esthetically pleasing.
Earlier the trend was to have amalgam fillings (silver) or gold filling restorations. These fillings contain mercury which is poisonous to the body as well as the environment. Also the amalgam fillings are generally not as advantageous as composite fillings because they demand more of a tooth removal and are susceptible to corrosion.
Composite Fillings (Tooth-coloured)
Composite FillingsComposite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings and are made of a plastic dental resin coComposite Fillingsmbined with glass particles. These types of fillings are, durable and are way more natural looking than amalgam fillings.
If you have a cavity in a tooth or broken fillings or if your teeth are full of silver fillings you may want to ask your dentist about changing to composite dental fillings. Silver fillings can easily be removed and replaced with far more attractive colored fillings. Research shows that composite fillings actually strengthen your tooth and further protect it from decay.
Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART)
The IAOMT (International academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology) safe amalgam removal protocol recommendations were recently updated on July 1, 2016 and were officially renamed as the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART)
All dental amalgam restorations, also called as silver fillings, contain approximately 50% mercury, and reports and research are consistent that these fillings emit mercury vapors during brushing, cleaning, clenching of teeth, chewing, etc. and mercury is also known to be released during the placement, replacement, and removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings
Scientific research demonstrates that dental mercury amalgam exposes dental professionals, dental staff, dental patients, and fetuses to releases of mercury vapor, mercury-containing particulate, and/or other forms of mercury contamination.
The recommendations include the following measures:
Recommenations for the dental office:
- Use of an amalgam separator to collect mercury amalgam waste so that it is not released into the effluent from the dental office
- Windows should be opened and /or exhaust fans run to reduce the mercury concentration in the air.
- Non-latex nitrile gloves should be utilized by the dentist and all dental personnel in the room.
- Face shields and hair/head coverings are to be utilized by the dentist and all dental personnel in the room.124,125
- During the opening and maintenance of suction traps in operatories or on the main suction unit, dental staff should utilize the appropriate personal protection equipment described above.
- Dentists must comply with federal, state, and local regulations addressing the proper handling, cleaning, and/or disposal of mercury-contaminated components, clothing, equipment, surfaces of the room, and flooring in the dental office.
Recommendations for the patient:
- A dental dam should be placed and properly sealed in the patient’s mouth.
- The patient should be given a slurry of charcoal, chlorella, or similar adsorbent to rinse and swallow before the procedure (unless the patient declines or there are other contraindications making this clinically inappropriate)
- Protective gowns and covers for the dentist, dental personnel, and the patient should be in place
- External air or oxygen delivered via a nasal mask for the patient also should be utilized to assure the patient does not inhale any mercury vapor or amalgam particulate during the procedure.
- A saliva ejector should be placed under the dental dam to reduce mercury exposure to the patient.
- Copious amounts of water to reduce heat and a conventional high speed evacuation device to capture mercury discharges should be used to reduce ambient mercury levels.
- The amalgam should be sectioned into chunks and removed in as large of pieces as possible using a small diameter carbide drill.
- Once the removal process is complete, the patient’s mouth should be thoroughly flushed with water and then rinsed out with a slurry of charcoal, chlorella or similar
- It is important to note that as a safety precaution, the IAOMT does not recommend amalgam filling removal for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and that the IAOMT does not recommend that dental personnel who are pregnant or breast-feeding conduct work that disrupts amalgam fillings (including their removal)