Mercury (Amalgam) Removal

Dr. John Augspurger follows a strict protocol in the removal of mercury (amalgam) filings. He is a member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine Toxicology, which has done extensive research on the dangerous effects of oral mercury and the safest methods for minimizing the mercury exposure to the patient, himself and staff members.

Why Replace Mercury Fillings?
The traditional “silver” filling is a toxic time bomb. It is made with mercury, which is one of the most neurotoxic elements on the planet. There is no “safe” level for mercury in the body which means that its harmful at all levels, even in small doses. For years the traditional dental profession told us that mercury in teeth fillings is bound up tight and wouldn’t leak out. When mercury first started being used that statement was accepted because there was no way to disprove it. Today, however, it has been conclusively shown that mercury leaks out of the filling over time from the moment it is inserted in the mouth

Mercury (amalgam) fillings are not approved by the FDA or the ADA. The Dental Association circumvented the approval process by saying that because the dentist is the final manufacturer of the material, the dentist is the responsible party for any problems that occur due to leakage into the body. Although the FDA must approve other products used in a dental office that are mixed by the dentist at the time of use, mercury is excluded from that list. This puts every patient that uses mercury fillings at high risk of toxification.

The Removal Process
The following is the protocol that is provided by the IAOMT and that is followed by Dr. John and his staff.  Knowing the process can make it easier to understand the benefit and safety involved in this process.

  • Chunking it Out – Slicing and dislodging big chunks, is much safer than grinding the contents of an old mercury filling out of the tooth. Keeping the tooth under a constant spray of water keeps the temperature down and reduces the vapor pressure within the mercury, minimizing the potential of vapors entering the bloodstream.
  • Suction – Using high volume evacuation (HVE) is the best tool for removing mercury vapor and amalgam particulates from the operating field. By keeping it next to the patient’s tooth it dramatically reduces the spatter of particles, directing the amalgam efficiently into the suction tube.
  • Rubber Dams – A rubber dam helps contain the majority of debris of amalgam grinding. However, sometimes mercury vapor will diffuse right through the rubber dam, and some of the particulates will often sneak past it.  Due to this possibility, Dr. John always uses a saliva ejector behind the rubber dam to evacuate air that may contain mercury vapor.
  • Covering the Skin – Covering your face with a barrier will prevent spattered amalgam particles from landing on the skin, or the eyes. Protective eyewear is always supplied and a fresh towel is used to cover the patient’s exposed areas.
  • Staff Safety – Dr. John and his staff also wear a respirator in order to protect themselves from the mercury vapors. It has been found that the paper mask has no benefit for removing either amalgam particulates or mercury vapor from the air we breathe.

Dr. John and his staff take great care in making sure the entire process from beginning to end is done, safely, effectively and comfortably.