It all started in 2013 when a UN program on Environment program called UNEP decided to phase out mercury totally from every usage and that included its use in dentistry too. Mercury has a dangerous effect on human health. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children below fifteen years of age and generally the aged are vulnerable to mercury’s ill-effect. Mercury-free dentistry promises to offer protection to the three. They are the patients, the dentists, and the general environment.
Impact of Mercury and its Ill-effects on Human Health
Exposure to mercury in pregnant women may cause abortion of a fetus
Exposure may cause harm to the developing brain of the fetus inside a pregnant woman
Some researchers point that mercury is carcinogenic and hence a constant exposure may cause cancer.
They can cause neurological problems.
The Toxicity of Dental Amalgams
Dental amalgam is a combination of 50% of mercury with 50% of any other metal. The most popular other metal used along with mercury is silver. They are hence also called silver fillings. The other metals used in place of silver are tin and copper, but they are not very popular.
The dental amalgam releases mercury vapor which is elemental in nature.
It has been shown that long-term workplace exposure of elemental mercury at a reading of around 20 µg/m3 have a toxic effect on human’s central nervous system. So this effectively means that the dentist is exposed occupationally and the patient is exposed slowly but constantly due to their presence in the fillings.
Elemental mercury is generally toxic to the central nervous system. They can cause insomnia, memory loss, headaches, neuromuscular changes and emotional problems.
As said earlier pregnant women are very vulnerable and the baby’s growing brain can get affected.
The dentist who performs the fillings can also get affected in the long-term due to repeated exposure to the toxicity of mercury.
Generally, the environment can be contaminated with mercury compounds as we continue to use them commercially for dental amalgam purposes.
Replacement of Dental Amalgams
In keeping with the protocol to completely do away with mercury and its ill-effects, at Oris Dental Center, we support mercury-free dentistry. We have gone completely “green” when it comes to fillings. Dental amalgams have been replaced by composite fillings at Oris Dental Center. The composite fillings offer the following advantages.
They are completely safe and non-toxic unlike dental amalgams
They come in various shades (tooth-colored) and hence they are more aesthetic
They are durable and hence last longer than dental amalgams.
Their usage discontinues the use of mercury in dentistry and hence a mercury-free environment is achieved.