“Safe” Removal of Mercury Fillings

Why did I put quotation marks around the word safe? There are several reasons.

The “powers-that-be” do not like the implication that one dentist may represent himself/herself as doing things better than his/her colleagues. I agree with that. Behaving that way is tacky in a professional environment.

“Safe” is a fuzzy word. It means different things to different people. To the mainstream in dentistry, mercury is deemed safe, because their take on the research says it is. Outside of the mainstream health “sciences,” the opposite is true. (See the post: The Mercury Filling Controversy)

Curiously, despite proclaiming the safety of mercury-based fillings, the powers-that-be somehow feel the need to advocate precautions while using it, especially in removing it:

From Item 5 of RCDSO Dental Amalgam Policy Statement

“5. In placing and removing dental amalgam restorations, dentists should take every precaution to ensure mercury hygiene. The College advises the following regarding the placement and removal of dental amalgam restorations. Ways to minimize patient exposure include:
• the routine use of a rubber dam;
• the use of high volume evacuation;
• frequent irrigation of the mouth with copious quantities of water;
• no dry cutting when removing old restorations.”


Even when judicious removal of mercury fillings is undertaken by those of us who shun the use of mercury, we emphasize that so-called “safe” removal has risks. In fact, at least in the short term, one’s body burden of mercury will increase no matter how “safe” the removal precautions and procedures are.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT – www.IAOMT.org) has developed a protocol for the removal of mercury fillings. It is more stringent than (and predates) the recommendations of the RCDSO mentioned above. This video explains and demonstrates and, more correctly than I have done, uses the word “safer” instead of “safe.”

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