Dental Mercury Waste - Where Does It Go?

Friday, October 1st, 2010, 9:47 am

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) the Environmental Protection Agency has plans to set up rules to reduce mercury waste from dental facilities.  The EPA expects the new rules to take place in 2012.  While the ADA has a policy that encourages dentists to voluntarily reduce amalgam in dental office wastewater it is now expected to review its amalgam separator policy before the EPA rule is is place.

The EPA believes that dental amalgams are responsible for 3.7 tons of mercury discharged into wastewater from dental facilities each year.  Technology called “amalgam separators” can reduce 95% of this mercury that is normally sent to local wastewater treatment plants.  The separators capture the mercury which can be recycled and reused.

Countries worldwide have banned dental amalgam completely because of the dangers of mercury.  Here in the United States it is still used primarily because it is cheap and easy to use.  Wilbanks Smile Center is mercury-free and more and more dental offices are deciding that, like Wilbanks Smile Center, using amalgam is unacceptable.

If you have old mercury-based amalgam fillings it is probably time to have them replaced.  Amalgam expands and contracts when in contact with heat and cold.  This leads to leaks in the filling itself which allow bacteria to begin decay of the tooth under the filling.  It can also lead to cracking of the tooth when the filling expands.

Please contact my Toccoa, Georgia full-service dental office at 706-886-9439.  Ask about your options for replacing mercury-based dental amalgam today.

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Category: Mercury Free Dentistry, oral health

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