Dental Tips Blog

Feb
16

Dentists Taking Steps to Combat Effects of Mercury

Posted in Fillings

Starting in July 2017, a couple new initiatives are going into effect with the aim of reducing the effects of dental mercury on the environment.

Very few dental offices in the United States still offer amalgam (50% mercury) as an option for dental fillings. They are being phased out and replaced by composite tooth colored fillings which are more conservative and metal-free.

While getting a silver filling isn’t likely to put your body at risk of mercury poisoning, getting these fillings removed could gradually be doing damage to the environment.

Dentists have to clean out the metal, which generates a mercury vapor that can be harmful if they breathe in a lot of it over the course of their career. In addition, the waste gets washed down the drain and into the water supply, where it can accumulate in drinking water and seafood.

After decades of efforts to completely eliminate the use and effects of mercury-based fillings, a couple of major steps have been taken.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Clean Water Act

A part of this act requires that all dental offices in the United States install amalgam separators that trap mercury debris so it can be properly disposed of.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): Minamata Convention on Mercury

This initiative goes into effect as of August 2017 and aims to phase out mercury use in dental offices on a global level. As a start, dentists are encouraged to not provide silver fillings for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Later talks will work toward the goal of eliminating mercury use entirely by 2030.

Want to know more about smile-safe dental restorations? Talk with your local dentist about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

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