For many decades, dentists have used mercury amalgam as a material to fill cavities. However, health-minded patients may be concerned about the potentially toxic effects of these materials in their mouths. At Dentistry by Shane Nelson, patients in Overland Park, Leawood, Olathe, Lenexa, Mission, and the surrounding KS communities can rely on Dr. Nelson for safe mercury removal.

Mercury in dental amalgam

Dental amalgam is a very versatile material that effectively fills teeth, which is why it has been so pervasively used. However, it is composed of approximately 50 percent mercury by weight. While amalgam is considered safe by the FDA, it has also been classified as a toxic substance by the World Health Organization and it can cause a number of severe deleterious adverse health effects.

  • Use of biocompatible materials in our mercury- and fluoride-free dental practice
  • Safe removal of mercury fillings (Dr. Nelson is a S.M.A.R.T. Certified dentist)
  • Digital x-rays and cone beam 3-D scans for precise and accurate imaging
  • Laser dentistry to reduce pain and the chance of complications during and after treatments
  • Ozone dentistry to promote optimal healing and recovery
  • Gneuromuscular approaches to bring balance back to your head, jaw, and neck muscles, which provides relief from issues like TMJ disorder
  • Treatment of weak, decayed, or fractured teeth using biomimetic dentistry principles that save your natural tooth and are very conservative.

The SMART amalgam removal protocol

Dr. Nelson is one of only four certified IAOMT SMART (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique) dentists in Kansas. This program was developed to provide rigorous standards for the safe removal of mercury amalgam from patients’ teeth so that neither patients, dental professionals, nor the environment are harmed during the removal process. Dr. Nelson has equipped his office with the specialized equipment necessary to follow this stringent protocol, which includes the following safety precautions, among others:

  • Using an impermeable barrier around the area that is being treated to avoid unnecessary exposure in other parts of the patient’s mouth
  • Providing the patient with external oxygen to prevent accidental inhalation of mercury vapor or particles
  • Wearing protective gowns for the dentist, staff and patient, as well as nitrile gloves and proper head/hair coverings
  • Using filtration and ventilation to remove mercury vapor and particles from the air
  • Collecting mercury amalgam waste separately from other materials and disposing of it properly
  • Using techniques to reduce the amount of heat that is generated

The dangers of mercury dental fillings explained.

mercury safe removal
Mercury is an extremely toxic substance and can have serious damaging effects on one’s health. While it has been banned in many consumer products, it’s ironic that it continues to be used in dental amalgam where it’s constantly deteriorating and releasing mercury in to the body. The European Union has already reached a provisional agreement to start banning them. This video explains why tough action is necessary against mercury fillings.

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Follow the SMART method when removing dental amalgam to ensure the safety of all personnel and the environment.

Griffin Cole of the international academy of oral medicine toxicology
Griffin Cole, DDS, NMD of the IAOMT explains why and how the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) should be applied when mercury dental fillings are removed. These steps will ensure the safety of the patient, the dentist, and the dental staff. Listen to Dr. Cole and watch the procedure being carried out.

I’m doctor Griffin Cole of the international academy of oral medicine toxicology. Patients and dentists should make sure that each step of the safe mercury amalgam removal technique or smart will be applied during a dental appointment for filling removal. The first step is for patients to consult with their dentist before the mercury filling removal begins, so that both the patient and dentist agreed that all safety measures will be in place. This helps to ensure that the patient and dentist know exactly what to expect. It’s also helpful to watch the following example of the safe mercury amalgam removal technique or smart being applied. Each room where mercury fillings are removed should have adequate filtration in place, which requires a high-volume air filtration system such as iq, air, dental, mercury, flex vac, or similar device capable of removing mercury vapour and amalgam particles generated during the removal of one or more mercury fillings. If possible, windows should be open to reduce the mercury concentration in the air. The patient should be given a slurry of charcoal chlorella or similar absorbent to rinse and swallow before the procedure. Unless the patient declines or there are other contra indications making this clinically inappropriate.
Protective gowns and covers for the dentist, dental personnel and the patient should be in place all present in the room should be protected because substantial quantities of particles generated during the procedure will elude collection by suction devices. It has been demonstrated that these particles can be spread from the patient’s mouth to the patient knee to the chest shoulder.
And neck of the dentist and dental assistant, either a properly sealed respiratory grade mask rated to capture mercury or positive pressure properly sealed mask providing air or oxygen should be worn by the dentist and all dental personnel in the room. Non latex nitrile gloves should be utilised by the dentist and all dental personnel in the room. Face shields and her head coverings are to be utilised by the dentists and all dental personnel in the room. In order to protect the patient skin and clothing, a full body impermeable barrier should be utilised. External air or oxygen delivered via a nasal mask for the patient also should be utilised to assure the patient does not inhale any mercury vapour or amalgam particulate during the procedure. A nasal cannula is an acceptable alternative for this purpose, as long as the patient’s nose is completely covered with an impermeable barrier.
A saliva ejector should be placed under the dental dam to reduce mercury exposure to the patient.

A dental dam that is made with non-latex nitrile material should be placed in properly sealed in the patient’s mouth as well as a full head, face and neck barrier that is under and around the dam.
During amalgam filling removal, the dentist should utilize iq, air, dental, mercury, flex vac or similar device in close proximity to the operating field that is 2 to 4 inches from the patient’s mouth to mitigate mercury exposure. High speed evacuation produces better capture when fitted with a clean up device, which is preferred. Copious amounts of water to reduce heat and conventional high speed evacuation device to capture mercury discharges should be used to reduce ambient mercury levels. The amalgam should be sectioned into chunks and removed in as larger pieces as possible. Using a small diameter carbide drill. Once the removal process is complete the patient’s mouth should be thoroughly flushed with water and then rinsed out with a slurry of charcoal chlorella or similar absorbent during the opening and maintenance of suction traps and operatories, or on the main suction unit, dental staff should utilise the appropriate personal protection equipment described earlier.

An amalgam separator should be properly installed, utilised and maintained to collect mercury amalgam waste so that it is not released into the effluent from the dental office. Dentists must comply with federal, state, and local regulations addressing the proper handling, cleaning and or disposal of mercury contaminated components, clothing, equipment, surfaces of the room and flooring in the dental office.
I hope that you’ll make the smart choice about your dental care by asking for safety measures during your mercury filling removal. For more information about the safe mercury amalgam removal technique or smart, including scientific research about why these safety measures are important, visit the smartchoice.com from the international academy of oral medicine and toxicology.


Mercury-free dentistry

Patients seeking a mercury safe dentist in the Overland Park, KS area will find compassionate, gentle, holistic dental care at Dentistry by Shane Nelson. If you are concerned about the potentially toxic effects of mercury and are interested in learning more about our safe amalgam removal process, call us today at (913) 297-7800.

Dr. Shane Nelson is a leading dentist in Overland Park
Dr. Shane Nelson is a leading dentist in Overland Park. He opened his private practice in January 2002 and has been serving the community for almost two decades. Having pursued several courses in cosmetic, holistic, biomimetic, gneuromuscular, and laser dentistry, he shares his expertise with dentists from all over the world as a clinical instructor. Dr. Nelson is a SMART certified dentist and is one of the six accredited dentists in the entire state of Kansas.

Success Stories

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Todd K.

Originally Posted on Google Review

What a discovery! Dr Nelson is very likely the best dentist you will ever find. His tools and techniques are state of the art, he's highly skilled and Dr Nelson is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I have struggled with my smile ever since another dentist botched a procedure years ago. Dr Nelson has restored my faith in dentistry and is actively working on giving me the best smile I have ever had. VERY highly recommended!