Removing an old mercury amalgam filling with a high speed dental drill will always create a huge hazardous plume of mercury vapor and an aerosol of inhalable particulates. This creates a serious risk of toxic exposure for the dental patient, the dentist and the assistant.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to mitigate this risk with simple physical barriers, that prevent us all from breathing and swallowing the mercury-laden debris. We use a dental dam to keep our patients from swallowing the particles, and extra suction behind the dam to evacuate the vapors. We provide an oxygen mask for the patients to breathe clean piped-in air, and we cover the skin to keep the particles off. At the same time, we rinse the area constantly, under high volume suction. Rinsing the mouth with activated charcoal afterward further reduces mercury exposure in the saliva.
These measures are the recommendations of the IAOMT, and we are pleased to follow them, every time. In fact, Dr. Koral was among those who researched and wrote those recommendations.
Our staff also is protected by the use of mercury-rated respirators during the procedure.