To prevent debris or small particles of the amalgam restoration from going into the mouth (being swallowed or inhaled) during the removal of the amalgam filling, a “Rubber Dam” is placed around the tooth to be treated and neighbouring teeth if necessary. This provides effective isolation of the treatment area.
The photo shows tooth number 46 which requires amalgam removal and removal of the decay in the distal (towards the back) region of the tooth, if you look closely a cavity can be seen there.
Because amalgam is a mixture of different metals and 50- 45% of that mixture is Mercury, we aim to prevent any Mercury vapours or airborne particulate matter generated by the removal process from being inhaled into our lungs.
This is achieved by using a mobile compressed clean air supply attached to a mask that is adapted over the patient’s nose (as seen in the photos). It supplies clean air at high pressure for the patient to breathe instead of the surrounding air. The clean air supply during removal of amalgam is optional as the patient may prefer not to use this service.
Both the dentist and nurse wear a specialised mask which filters out Mercury (Hg) vapour (as seen in the photo).
Finally the windows and doors are opened accordingly to allow fresh air to flow through the surgery room and clinic.
Please also note that the compressed air used for the dental hand-pieces (drills) comes from the clean air outside the clinic. It does not use air expelled by the suction motor, because the suction motor exhaust has been carefully piped far enough away from the compressor and filters adapted along the way to capture exhaust material as much as possible.