Amalgam Removal: How We Protect You

If you have been scheduled for dental treatment that includes dental amalgam removal, the following information will let you know what to expect. In addition to any nutritional supplements or recommendations that Dr. Shuch may have recommended for you to take in preparation for this visit, you will be given the following nutritional supplements just prior to your treatment:

* Chlorella is a member of the blue-green algae family of single-celled plants that live in ponds, lakes, and in the ocean. Chlorella, when dried and placed in capsules and taken as a nutritional supplement, has the unique property of absorbing mercury in the digestive tract. This is important because as our body detoxifies, one of the pathways it uses for getting rid of mercury is through the digestive system. However, the lower portion of the digestive tract, the large intestine, tends to re-absorb mercury before it can be eliminated. If that mercury is bound up by chlorella, then the large intestine will not be able to re-absorb it, and you will be able to pass the mercury out through your bowels.

* Selenium is a trace mineral that is often deficient in our diet due to its depletion from the soil in modern farming methods. Selenium is a nutrient needed by our cells. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, or cell protector. It has a unique property of occupying particular areas within cells that are identical to where mercury likes to bind. If your levels of selenium are sufficient when your cells detoxify from mercury, the selenium will fill the areas vacated by the mercury, making it harder for the mercury to rebind. Think of the binding sites in your cells like the empty chairs used in the children’s game of “musical chairs”. If the mercury stands up and the selenium sits down, the mercury won’t have a place to ‘sit’.

Once you are comfortably numb, Dr. Shuch will give you pure oxygen to breathe. This will prevent you from breathing in any traces of mercury vapor that may escape the high-speed suction unit that Dr. Shuch will use during the removal process. In addition, a small 100% cotton filter will be placed over your nose to prevent you from inhaling any metal dust.

You may notice a slight hissing sound in the room. This is a negative ion generator, designed to keep microscopic sized particles of mercury from staying in the room air.

Just before the removal process begins, Dr. Shuch will place a dental dam over the area of your mouth that he will be working on. This is a thin membrane made of natural rubber (or non-rubber, if you are allergic to latex), that will keep any particles of the amalgam that are being removed from getting into your mouth or your throat.

Once the amalgam has been fully removed, Dr. Shuch will inspect the remainder of your tooth with high-powered magnification to see if there are any remaining cracks in your tooth. These are a very common finding in teeth that have had mercury amalgams in them. If Dr. Shuch finds such a crack, he will use a number of modern, non-toxic dental materials in an attempt to seal these cracks. Most often, this is done with a dental material that is made from a very pure inert glass. Once this glass base is placed and has hardened, it will form the surface onto which your new tooth colored dental restoration will be attached. On some occasions, a crack in a tooth will be so extensive that the nerve of the tooth will remain inflamed and uncomfortable until root canal therapy is performed. If Dr. Shuch sees this condition, or suspects it in your tooth, he will talk to you about it at the end of your visit.

Once the tooth or teeth under treatment are free from dental amalgam, Dr. Shuch will remove the cotton dust filter and the oxygen from your nose. If you are having a bonded composite restoration placed, the dental dam will remain until the restoration is completed. If you are having a porcelain restoration placed (a crown, an inlay or an onlay), Dr. Shuch will remove the dental dam and continue the tooth-shaping and mold- making process until he is satisfied. You will be fitted with a temporary restoration that will protect your tooth until the porcelain restoration is ready. It will be placed at a separate visit, usually three weeks later.