Concern over mercury amalgam fillings has grown steadily over the past years. Many patients today want to to know what the cost of mercury filling removal is, while they try to find a dentist who can remove their mercury fillings in the safest way.
With this guide, our aim is to help you understand some basics about amalgam removal, the cost of mercury filling removal and the main steps involved in the safe amalgam removal procedure.
Cost of Mercury Filling Removal
One of the most frequent questions patients ask when they want an amalgam removal procedure is: What is the cost of removing my mercury fillings? As a patient, you must take into account that you need to have your mouth thoroughly examined before starting any dental treatment. This initial exam typically includes x-rays, intraoral pictures, and dental and medical history.
So when it comes to mercury filling removal, your dentist will carry out a comprehensive exam to determine a couple of things such as:
– the number of silver fillings you need to have removed
– the size of your mercury filling or fillings
– the location of your metal fillings
These factors will largely determine the cost of the procedure. A basic removal, which probably includes a small sized filling, can start at approx. $250. Depending on the size, location and the condition of your metal fillings, prices may go up from this base price.
WHEN A SIMPLE MERCURY FILLING REMOVAL BECOMES A HEADACHE (AND POSSIBLY A MONEY PIT)
For example, if your mercury fillings are in good shape, replacing them with composite material will include the cost of a regular filling.
However, if the amalgam filling is leaking, or has affected the health or composition of the tooth, or if there is some decay in or around it, costs can go considerably. So there are cases where replacing your fillings will mean placing a crown or an onlay, as there would not be enough tooth structure to support a regular filling.
So, when estimating the price of a safe amalgam removal procedure, you also need to take into account other things such as:
– Is the filling so big that you need further restoration of your teeth?
– If so, what kind of restoration do you need: a crown, an inlay, onlay or just a regular composite filling?
All these aspects will regulate the cost of your amalgam removal procedure. Make sure you can talk openly with your dentist about the prices of your treatment to know exactly how much you will be paying for the whole treatment (TIP: Here’s another guide that talks about the different types of dental crowns and costs)
Some Basics About Mercury Amalgams
Mercury is considered toxic to our health. Although research studies have shown that mercury levels from amalgam fillings are not the direct cause of illnesses, concerns have grown over time. In 1991 the American Dental Association carried out a survey to evaluate people’s concern about mercury input in their bodies.
Today, if you asked anyone whether they would prefer to have their mercury fillings removed, they would certainly say, “Yes!”
And this need for a mercury removal grows stronger when we read, for example, that the number of silver fillings in our mouth is directly linked to mercury levels in our body. Research studies have also shown that mercury levels in our blood and urine decrease after a mercury filling removal.
The Potential Risks of Mercury
Mercury is a chemical element present in water sources, in the air and in many of the foods we eat ( especially seafood). It is the long-term contact with mercury what makes it extremely dangerous. Too much contact with this metal may be harmful to your health and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, bad temper, memory loss, headaches, and weakness.
In the field of dentistry, silver fillings (a mixture of copper, silver, tin and about 50% mercury) have been widely used. They are strong and low cost. However, with advancement in technology and materials, today the tendency to avoid metal fillings has grown (It is now also avoided in pregnant women and children under 6).
For a biological dentist, for example, it is much more convenient to work with more natural and aesthetic materials, such as tooth-colored composite resin. These holistic doctors prefer to work with non-toxic and more biocompatible materials.
Benefits of Mercury Amalgam Removal
Many people who decide to have their silver fillings removed value the benefits of getting rid of mercury. Removing these silver fillings will:
- avoid growing exposure and contact with mercury. Overtime, mercury vapors are released when we chew gum or eat hard foods such as grains, for example.
- give patients a “peace of mind” effect. People feel at ease when they know their mouths are free of toxic elements.
- Plus, replacing silver fillings by natural looking composite fillings carries great aesthetics benefits. Patients will no longer feel self-conscious about the look of their smile.
So Should You Get a Mercury Filling Removal?
Again, it all depends on your needs and wants. If your metal fillings are worn, cracked, or if there is severe decay beneath the metal filling, then you should definitely get them removed.
If your old fillings are fine, but you want to avoid the effects of mercury on your health, then you should get a mercury filling removal. Mercury amalgams release some amount of mercury in the form of vapors. This happens specially during brushing, chewing, grinding or drinking hot liquids, and in placement or removal procedures.
So if you decide to have your mercury fillings out, make sure you contact the right dental office. We’ve heard testimonials of people who came out with a burned mouth because they visited the wrong dental office.
It’s important to know that some dentists specialize in safe amalgam removal. They are trained to provide you with the safest treatment possible.
Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART)
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Technology (IAOMT) establishes a series of recommendations for a completely safe procedure.Mercury safe dentists require specific training to follow these measures, and the use of state-of-the-art technology. These protocol recommendations are known as Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART).
Chairside Steps for Safe Mercury Removal
Mercury filling removal requires very specific safety measures. As mercury vapors are released at higher rates during placement or removal procedures, the steps the IAOMT establishes are very specific and strict.
In-office safety measures are taken to prepare patients before the mercury removal. These safety measures include the following:
The patient must wear goggles and a hair cap for protection. The whole face is covered, leaving only a hole for the mouth. These safety measures reduce the risk of mercury vapors getting in contact with the patient.
Full Body Protection
The patient must wear an apron to drape their clothes and their entire body. It is highly important to cover the patient’s skin and clothes. These gowns must be disposable or washed immediately after the process.
A Rubber (non-latex) Dam
A non latex dam must be placed and sealed over the patient’s teeth. This dam should be properly fit and customized to prevent particles from getting in contact with any tissues or oral mucosa. The dentist must also make sure that the patient has the saliva ejector properly placed behind the rubber dam.
Charcoal and Chlorella
Charcoal and Chlorella are used before and after the removal. They are placed under the dam with a piece of cotton or gauze. Charcoal or Chlorella are used for rinsing the mouth and eliminating toxic substances out of the body. Chlorella, a super food algae supplement, is famous for removing toxic elements and metals out of your blood and body. This detoxification algae is used in mercury removal for its capability of eliminating any particles of mercury that might leak under the dam.
For the patient not to breathe the air around the treated area, the dentist must provide oxygen via a nasal mask. This is to avoid breathing in any mercury vapors or mercury particles that may be released during the removal process.
The Dental Room and Staff
For complete protection and careful handling during the procedure, the DENTAL ROOM must:
- Have an amalgam separator to collect mercury waste
- Ensure adequate filtration
- Have good ventilation
- Have high water irrigation and suction
During the whole process, DENTISTS and the dental staff must:
- Wear masks during the whole process, including masks which provide oxygen.
- Wear nitrile gloves, gowns, and protective garment
Some dentists even recommend a two-week protocol with vitamins before the procedure.
By the end of the process, your dentist must handle everything with extreme care. Cleaning the rooms and disposing elements that were in contact with mercury are essential steps to finish the procedure safely.
Post Amalgam Removal
After the removal of mercury fillings your dentist has to restore your tooth back to its form and function. Filling the spaces left by the removed amalgam is the next step. Depending on the size of the filling and the condition of the treated tooth, restoration options will vary. They may range from a simple composite filling to a full restoration, such as crown.
That is why materials and the kind of restoration you get will vary according to your particular situation. Compatibility tests allow holistic dentists to evaluate the materials which will best suit your oral needs.
All in all, If you decide to have a mercury filling removal, make sure you opt for the right dental office. Pick a well-trained professional team that performs the amalgam filling removal under safety measures. After all, what you want is to minimize the risk of metal toxicity in your body and restore your teeth health, appearance and function.
Also, feel free to talk to your dentist about the cost of your mercury filling removal. Remember that prices will vary according to the size, location and condition of your existing silver fillings.
If you want to get more information about safe mercury filling removal, feel free to email or call Rohrer Dental Wellness Center at
Phone: (561) 404-7360