dentistMany people visiting their dentists used to be concerned about getting mercury poisoning from dental fillings. So far, research has shown that the mercury in dental fillings doesn’t do anyone harm. But, it’s still possible to get mercury poisoning from these fillings — if your dentist isn’t careful. You may be surprised to find out that it’s not in the way you expect.

Dental Waste Disposal

According to Discount Disposables, the dental fillings dentists often use contain a small amount of mercury. Some of these fillings eventually become waste materials that need to be disposed of. But, simply putting dental waste into a medical waste bag or flushing it down the toilet actually does more harm than good. Some waste management plants choose to burn medical wastes and sludge found in sewage pipes. Burning the waste releases the mercury into the air, causing it to build up in the water and the soil.

Mercury in the water causes the most harm because it can cause fish and shellfish to collect large amounts of the metal into their bodies. Once people eat these fish and shellfish with high levels of mercury in them, they risk getting mercury poisoning. Dental fillings play a huge part in this rise of mercury levels; according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 50% of mercury in the water comes from dental waste that were not managed properly.

What You Can Do About It

The best thing you can do is ask your dentist about their methods of waste disposal. The important thing your dentist should be doing is practicing proper waste disposal methods, such as using proper containers for disposed amalgams and giving them to proper waste handling plants. You can also suggest using alternatives to dental fillings like resin, glass, or gold. That way, they can continue giving dental fillings to their patients without risking the safety of the environment.