An increasing number of health-savvy individuals are exploring the advantages of amalgam removal for big, bright smiles that promote oral health and whole body wellness. At Dr. Janet Stopka’s biological dentistry office in Burr Ridge, IL, the procedure is performed the smart way, with techniques that minimize exposure to potentially harmful mercury.
Clearing the air on amalgam removal
Wikipedia calls it the “dental amalgam controversy” and cites that the debate over the safety of this material safe has been going on since the 1840s. Plenty of myths and misconceptions remain, so let’s get the big ones out in the open.
“Amalgamate” means to combine. Thus, dental amalgam is a mixture of silver, tin, copper, and other metals comprising about 50 percent of the mass. The remaining half is elemental mercury.
Most people think these fillings are made of silver, because of the color. Yet only about 22 to 32 percent of an amalgam filling is truly silver.
Mercury is a known toxin. Exposure can affect human neurological, gastrointestinal, and renal systems.
Mercury can enter the human body through ingestion, absorption, or inhalation of vapor.
Scientific research proves that amalgam fillings emit mercury vapor from friction (chewing, bruxing, brushing teeth, and dental cleaning).
The highest concentration of mercury release occurs when an amalgam filling is simply ground out, without precautions. This creates heat, particle spray, and vapor.
While robust people can generally manage a certain amount of toxic load, the effect is exacerbated in those with compromised health or immune system issues.
Amalgam has a coefficient of expansion that is quite different from natural tooth structure. When exposed to warm or cold temperatures (like hot coffee or ice cream) it expands and contracts at a different rate than teeth. That can cause repaired teeth to fracture, requiring more dental work in the future.
Amalgam enjoyed such a long run in this country’s history of dentistry because the technique requires less precision than alternative methods of repairing tooth decay.
While amalgam has changed very little in the last 175 years, tremendous advances have been made in composite resin bonding material and dental ceramics. Today, these biocompatible restorations are strong and durable, appropriate even for molars. Plus, they match natural dentition for a more pleasing aesthetic.
You do not have to wait until an amalgam filling fails or falls out to have it replaced. If you want a whiter smile or you are concerned about potential health risks, you should talk to an IAOMT member dentist right away.
What smart techniques in dentistry are available in Burr Ridge, IL?
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is an organization of scientists, medical professionals, and dentists who share a common passion – protecting public health and preserving our environment. They apply scientific, evidence-based research to evaluation of health risks and identification of the safest available treatment methods and materials.
Their Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique is a terrific example. SMART is a detailed protocol taught to IAOMT member dentists like Dr. Janet Stopka, willing to invest in training and instrumentation to safeguard patients and their dental teams.
What to expect during a SMART appointment
From the dental team’s perspective, amalgam removal follows a meticulous, step-by-step process. From the patient’s side of the chair, however, the experience is much like any other dental procedure. It just takes a little longer and involves a few unfamiliar items.
Most obvious are:
Special garments for you and the dental team to keep amalgam particles from making contact with skin or migrating from hair or clothing to skin.
The dentist and assistants wear face shields and oxygen masks, too.
A flexible dental dam keeps mercury vapor, spray, and bits of amalgam out of the back of your throat and airway.
Fresh air is essential! A high volume air filtration system keeps mercury from building up in the atmosphere of the treatment room. Windows may also be opened.
You receive external oxygen through a nasal mask.
Before and after the procedure, you use a chelating rinse that binds with and helps to remove toxins.
Rather than grinding with a dental drill, fillings are cut and chunks removed intact.
Continuous flow of water keeps fillings cool, reducing vapor release.
Liquid waste from the procedure goes through an amalgam separator to prevent mercury particles from entering the public wastewater system.
You read this article, so you must already be interested in how smart techniques in biological dentistry can help you enjoy a healthier mouth and body. Dr. Stopka would love to tell you more. Call (630) 756-5844 to schedule an appointment at her Burr Ridge, IL office.
Dr. Janet S. Stopka
Janet S. Stopka DDS, PC
With over two decades of experience, Dr. Janet S. Stopka is a driven, passionate and renowned professional in the field of dentistry. Her ability to provide patient-centered care and insistence on healthy biological dentistry has created an environment of trust and comfort amongst herself and her patients.
Whilst being a patient-oriented expert, she is also a strong advocate of mercury safe dentistry and invests in the latest technological equipment to assist and reduce risk during complicated dental procedures.
She is also a progressive and keen member of the IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology).