A Mercury-Safe Dentist is a dentist who not only does not place mercury fillings (Mercury-Free), but is also trained to remove them using precautions to make the procedure as safe as possible for the patient as well as the dental staff. We use the amalgam-removal protocol set forth by the IAOMT, which prescribes the following:
· Cutting the filling into pieces as large as possible to reduce particulate matter
· Using copious amounts of water to keep the filling as cool as possible during cutting, reducing the amount of mercury vapor released due to heat caused by friction
· High-volume and high-powered suction to remove as much vapor and particulate matter as possible right at the source
· A “clean-up” instrument, which fits over the tooth and directs nearly all of the vapor and particulate matter directly into the vacuum
· A nitrile dam in the mouth to remove the possibility of vapor and particles entering the throat. While latex allows mercury vapor to pass through, nitrile effectively blocks it.
· Supplemental oxygen for the patient, so the only air you are getting is medical-grade oxygen, not the air in the room.
The most important aspect of amalgam removal is to seek out a dentist who willingly follows the above protocol. Having amalgam removed without using these precautions will expose the patient to much more mercury vapor and particulate matter than leaving the fillings in place.