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Prestwich Dental Clinic

Mercury and Amalgam Filling Removal

Find out more about how we remove and replace tooth fillings.

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Want Fillings Removed and Replaced?

If you would like more information regarding our filling removal treatment, we welcome you to contact us. We understand that you may concerns about the treatment so we offer a full consultation process so you are fully aware of the entire process. Call our caring team on 0161 773 7080 today.

Tooth Filling/ Amalgam Removal

Some people do not want mercury in their mouth due to health reasons. Here at Love-Teeth, we can remove old amalgam fillings using a ‘rubber dam’ and very high-powered suction, to prevent inhalation of mercury vapours. The removed filing can then be replaced with mercury-free aesthetic fillings. There is no charge for filling removal on existing teeth and charge £150 per tooth for new fillings.

Dental Maintenance Plans

We offer a comprehensive membership plan which provides many benefits as well as 20% off treatment* and starts from as little as £9.99/month adults/£5.99/month children – please ask at reception or call us at 0161 773 7080

Mercury and Amalgam Filling Removal – Frequently Asked Questions

What are mercury fillings, and why are they considered harmful?

Mercury fillings, also known as dental amalgam fillings, are a type of dental restoration used to fill cavities and repair damaged teeth. They are a mixture of various metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper.

Composition and Properties

  • Mercury makes up about 50% of the amalgam mixture, giving it a silver-colored appearance.
  • The amalgam is malleable when mixed but hardens quickly when placed in the tooth.
  • It is durable, long-lasting, and resistant to wear and tear.

Concerns and Potential Harm

Mercury fillings are considered potentially harmful due to the presence of mercury, which is a toxic substance. The main concerns are:

Mercury Exposure

  • Mercury vapors can be released from the fillings during chewing, teeth grinding, or drinking hot beverages.
  • These vapors can be inhaled or absorbed into the body, potentially causing health issues.

Health Risks

  • Mercury exposure has been linked to various health problems, including neurological, reproductive, and immune system issues.
  • It may contribute to conditions like Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and autism spectrum disorders, although the evidence is still inconclusive.

Alternatives and Regulations

Due to the potential risks associated with mercury fillings, many dental professionals and organizations recommend using alternative materials, such as composite resins or ceramics, whenever possible. The use of mercury fillings has been phased out or restricted in several countries, including the UK, as a precautionary measure to minimise potential exposure.

It's important to note that while the risks of mercury fillings are a concern, the level of exposure and potential harm may vary depending on individual circumstances. It's advisable to discuss your options and concerns with a qualified dentist to make an informed decision about the most suitable dental restoration for your needs.

While the potential harm caused by mercury fillings is still a subject of ongoing research and debate, several potential health risks have been associated with their use. These risks primarily stem from the presence of mercury, a toxic substance that can have adverse effects on various bodily systems.

Neurological Risks

  • Mercury exposure has been linked to neurological disorders, such as:
    • Impaired cognitive function
    • Memory loss
    • Tremors
    • Insomnia
  • In severe cases, it may contribute to the development of conditions like Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, although the evidence is still inconclusive.

Reproductive and Developmental Risks

  • Mercury exposure during pregnancy can pose risks to the developing foetus, potentially leading to:
    • Birth defects
    • Developmental delays
    • Neurological impairments
  • It may also affect fertility and hormonal imbalances in both men and women.

Immune System Risks

  • Mercury can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and autoimmune disorders.
  • It may exacerbate the symptoms of existing autoimmune conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Other Potential Risks

  • Kidney damage
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin rashes or hypersensitivity reactions

It's important to note that the level of risk may vary depending on individual factors, such as the number of mercury fillings, duration of exposure, and overall health status. If you have concerns about the potential health risks associated with mercury fillings, it's advisable to consult with a qualified dentist to discuss your options and make an informed decision.

The process of removing mercury fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, involves several steps and precautions to ensure the safety of both the patient and the dental staff. Here's a breakdown of the typical procedure:

Preparation

  • The dentist will take all necessary precautions to minimise mercury exposure, such as using specialised equipment and protective gear.
  • An alternating current is sometimes applied to the filling to help it crumble and ease removal.

Removal Technique

  • The dentist will carefully drill out the mercury filling using a high-speed drill and a abundant water supply to cool the area and prevent mercury vapour release.
  • A powerful vacuum system is used to capture any mercury particles or vapours released during the removal process.

Cleaning and Preparation

  • Once the filling is removed, the dentist will thoroughly clean the area, removing any remaining mercury particles or debris.
  • The tooth is then prepared for the new filling material, which may involve shaping or applying a bonding agent.

Replacement Filling

  • After the preparation, the dentist will place the new filling material, typically a composite resin or ceramic material.
  • These alternative materials are mercury-free and considered safer alternatives to amalgam fillings.

Aftercare

  • The dentist may provide specific instructions for aftercare, such as dietary restrictions or recommendations for managing any discomfort or sensitivity.
  • Follow-up appointments may be scheduled to ensure proper healing and to check the integrity of the new filling.

The entire process can take several hours, depending on the number of fillings being removed and the complexity of the procedure. It's essential to choose a qualified and experienced dentist who follows strict safety protocols to minimise the risks associated with mercury exposure during the removal process.

With growing concerns about the potential health risks associated with mercury fillings, many dentists now offer safer and more aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Two of the most common options are composite resin fillings and ceramic fillings.

Composite Resin Fillings

  • Composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.
  • They are tooth-coloured and can be matched to the natural shade of your teeth, making them virtually invisible.
  • Composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth structure, creating a tight seal that helps prevent further decay.
  • They are durable and can last for several years with proper care and maintenance.

Ceramic Fillings

  • Ceramic fillings, also known as inlays or onlays, are made from porcelain or other ceramic materials.
  • They are highly durable and resistant to staining and wear, making them a long-lasting option.
  • Ceramic fillings are also tooth-coloured and can be matched to the natural shade of your teeth.
  • They are typically more expensive than composite fillings but offer excellent strength and aesthetics.

Benefits of Mercury-Free Fillings

  • Improved aesthetics: Both composite and ceramic fillings blend seamlessly with your natural teeth, providing a more attractive smile.
  • Biocompatibility: These materials are non-toxic and do not contain mercury, reducing potential health risks.
  • Tooth preservation: The bonding process used with these fillings often requires less tooth structure removal compared to amalgam fillings.

When considering alternatives to mercury fillings, it's important to discuss your options with your dentist, who can recommend the most suitable material based on your specific needs, budget, and the location and extent of the filling required.

The process of removing mercury fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, is generally not considered a painful procedure. However, some discomfort or sensitivity may be experienced, which can be managed effectively with proper techniques and pain management strategies.

Local Anesthesia

  • Most dentists will administer a local anesthetic injection to numb the area around the tooth receiving treatment.
  • This helps minimize any potential pain or discomfort during the drilling and removal process.
  • The numbing effect typically lasts for several hours after the procedure.

Minimizing Sensitivity

  • Your dentist will use a specialized drill and abundant water supply to keep the tooth and surrounding area cool during the removal process.
  • This helps prevent excessive heat buildup, which can cause sensitivity or discomfort.
  • A rubber dam may also be used to isolate the tooth and protect the surrounding soft tissues.

Potential Discomfort

  • Some patients may experience mild discomfort or sensitivity after the anesthesia wears off, particularly if multiple fillings were removed or if the tooth structure was extensively damaged.
  • This discomfort is typically temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or by following your dentist's recommendations for aftercare.

Individual Factors

It's important to note that everyone's pain tolerance and sensitivity levels are different. Some individuals may experience more discomfort than others, especially if they have sensitive teeth or a low pain threshold. Open communication with your dentist about your concerns and proper pain management techniques can help ensure a comfortable experience during and after the mercury filling removal process.

The duration of the mercury filling removal process can vary depending on several factors, such as the number of fillings being removed, their size and location, and the complexity of the procedure. However, here's a general overview of what to expect:

Single Filling Removal

  • For the removal of a single mercury filling, the process typically takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • This includes the preparation time, the actual removal process, cleaning the area, and placing the new filling material.

Multiple Filling Removal

  • If you need to have multiple mercury fillings removed, the procedure can take significantly longer, often spanning several hours or requiring multiple appointments.
  • The duration will depend on the number of fillings being removed and their locations within the mouth.
  • Some dentists may choose to work on one quadrant (quarter) of the mouth at a time to minimize discomfort and fatigue.

Factors Affecting Duration

  • Size and Location: Larger fillings or those located in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth may take longer to remove and replace.
  • Tooth Condition: If the tooth structure is significantly damaged or decayed, additional preparation time may be required before placing the new filling.
  • Anesthesia: Administering local anesthesia and allowing it to take full effect can add some time to the overall procedure.

Post-Procedure Care

  • After the mercury filling removal process, your dentist may schedule a follow-up appointment to check the integrity of the new fillings and ensure proper healing.
  • This typically occurs within a few weeks after the initial procedure.

It's essential to discuss the expected duration with your dentist during the consultation, as they can provide a more accurate estimate based on your specific case and their experience with mercury filling removal procedures.

Like any dental procedure, the removal of mercury fillings carries some potential risks and side effects. However, these can be minimized by choosing an experienced dentist who follows proper safety protocols. Here are some risks and side effects to be aware of:

Exposure to Mercury Vapors

  • During the removal process, mercury vapors can be released, which, if inhaled, can potentially cause adverse health effects.
  • To mitigate this risk, dentists use specialized equipment, such as high-speed suction devices and rubber dams, to capture and minimize the release of mercury vapors.

Tooth Sensitivity

  • After the removal of a mercury filling, the tooth may become temporarily sensitive to hot, cold, or pressure.
  • This sensitivity is usually temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or desensitizing toothpaste recommended by your dentist.

Tooth Fracture

  • In rare cases, the removal process may cause a tooth to fracture or crack, especially if the tooth structure is already compromised.
  • This may require additional dental work, such as a crown or root canal treatment, to restore the tooth's integrity.

Allergic Reactions

  • Some individuals may be allergic to the materials used in the new filling, such as composite resins or ceramics.
  • This can lead to symptoms like swelling, redness, or itching around the affected area.

Temporary Discomfort

  • As with any dental procedure, you may experience some temporary discomfort, such as jaw soreness or mild pain, after the removal process.
  • This can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and should subside within a few days.

It's important to discuss any concerns or potential risks with your dentist before undergoing the procedure. They can provide personalized guidance and take appropriate precautions to minimize any risks based on your individual situation.

The cost of mercury filling removal in the UK can vary depending on several factors, such as the dentist's location, the number of fillings being removed, and the type of replacement material used. However, here's a general overview of what you can expect:

Single Filling Removal

  • The cost for removing and replacing a single mercury filling typically ranges from £80 to £150.
  • This price usually includes the removal process, the replacement filling material (e.g., composite resin or ceramic), and any necessary preparatory work.

Multiple Filling Removal

  • If you need to have multiple mercury fillings removed, the cost can add up quickly.
  • Many dentists offer a discounted rate or package deal for multiple fillings, but the total cost can still range from £200 to £500 or more, depending on the number of fillings and their complexity.

Replacement Material Cost

  • The type of replacement material used can also influence the overall cost.
  • Composite resin fillings are generally more affordable, ranging from £80 to £150 per filling.
  • Ceramic fillings, which are more durable and aesthetic, can cost between £150 to £300 or more per filling.

Additional Costs

  • If additional dental work is required, such as root canal treatment or crowns, the cost can increase significantly.
  • Some dentists may also charge additional fees for consultations, X-rays, or follow-up appointments.

Location and Dentist Expertise

  • The location of the dental practice can also impact the cost, with dentists in urban areas or affluent regions typically charging higher rates.
  • Dentists with specialized training or expertise in mercury filling removal may also charge higher fees.

It's always recommended to get a detailed cost estimate from your dentist before proceeding with the procedure. Many dental practices also offer payment plans or financing options to help make the treatment more affordable.

Dentists take various precautions to ensure the safety of patients during the process of removing mercury fillings, also known as amalgam fillings. These precautions are designed to minimize exposure to mercury vapors and particles, which can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. Here are some of the key precautions typically taken:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The dentist and dental staff will wear appropriate PPE, such as masks, goggles, and protective clothing, to prevent inhalation or skin contact with mercury particles.
  • Patients may also be provided with protective eyewear and a rubber dam (a thin sheet of rubber) to isolate the tooth being worked on and prevent accidental ingestion of mercury.

Specialized Equipment

  • High-speed suction devices and powerful vacuum systems are used to capture and remove mercury particles and vapors released during the removal process.
  • Additional air filtration systems may be employed in the operatory room to further reduce the risk of mercury exposure.

Strict Handling and Disposal Protocols

  • All mercury-containing materials, including the removed fillings, are carefully handled and stored in specialized containers for proper disposal.
  • This ensures that the mercury does not contaminate the environment or pose a risk to the dental staff or patients.

Water Coolant and Dental Dams

  • A continuous water spray is used during the drilling process to cool the tooth and minimize the release of mercury vapors.
  • Dental dams (rubber sheets) are used to isolate the tooth and prevent mercury particles from entering the patient's mouth or being swallowed.

Patient Monitoring

  • The dentist will closely monitor the patient throughout the procedure, checking for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions.
  • Proper pain management techniques, such as local anesthesia, may be employed to ensure the patient's comfort during the removal process.

It's important to note that reputable dentists follow strict safety protocols and adhere to guidelines set by regulatory bodies to ensure the safe removal of mercury fillings. If you have any concerns, it's always advisable to discuss them with your dentist before undergoing the procedure.

The decision to remove mercury fillings, also known as dental amalgam fillings, is a personal choice that should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified dentist. While some individuals may opt for removal due to potential health concerns, it is not necessarily required if you are not experiencing any symptoms or issues related to the fillings.

Potential Reasons for Removal

  • Health Concerns: Some individuals choose to remove mercury fillings due to concerns about potential long-term exposure to mercury vapors, which can be released during chewing or grinding. However, the extent of the health risks associated with mercury fillings is still a subject of ongoing research and debate.
  • Aesthetic Reasons: Mercury fillings have a distinct silver or gray appearance, which some individuals may find unattractive, especially in visible areas of the mouth. Removing them and replacing them with tooth-colored alternatives, such as composite resin or ceramic fillings, can improve the aesthetics of your smile.

Factors to Consider

  • Age and Condition of Fillings: Older mercury fillings that are deteriorating or causing issues, such as cracks or leaks, may need to be replaced regardless of symptoms.
  • Individual Sensitivity: Some people may be more sensitive to mercury and experience symptoms like headaches, fatigue, or allergic reactions, which could warrant removal.
  • Overall Health: Individuals with compromised immune systems, neurological disorders, or other health conditions may be more susceptible to potential risks associated with mercury exposure.

Consultation and Evaluation

If you are not experiencing any symptoms or issues related to your mercury fillings, it is generally not considered necessary to remove them solely as a precautionary measure. However, it is advisable to discuss your concerns with a qualified dentist who can evaluate your specific situation and provide personalized advice.

The dentist may recommend monitoring the condition of your fillings during regular check-ups and considering replacement if any issues arise or if you develop symptoms that could be related to mercury exposure. Ultimately, the decision to remove mercury fillings should be based on a thorough evaluation of your individual circumstances and a careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits.

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