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No Mercury Fillings, Please

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Accompanied by a giant molar, the advocacy group, the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology in the Philippines (IAOMT-Philippines) welcomed Dental Health Month with an urgent message for the government and the dental sector: "Please, no mercury fillings!"€

Since 2010, the group, spearheaded by Dr Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen has been prodding on the government to enact laws and resolutions to phase-out the use of mercury in dentistry. While the use of mercury and mercury-containing products has been phased-out of other health professions, the heavy metal still plays a major part in Philippine dentistry as the ever prevalent dental amalgam.

In the dental profession, dental amalgam fillings are regarded highly because of its strength and reasonable costs. However, decades of research studies casted doubts on its seemingly impeccable reputation.

"Dental amalgam fillings are composed of 50 percent mercury," explains Dr Ebuen, "...and scientists, academics, and dentists have expressed concern that due to its high mercury content, amalgam fillings pose risks to both patients and dentists."

A study conducted by IAOMT in the US revealed that people with dental amalgam fillings display a high-level of mercury in their tissues as opposed to those without the restorative material. Additional research also found that individuals with amalgam fillings are constantly exposed as chewing, drinking hot beverages, and even brushing can cause mercury to leak into the saliva and into the bloodstream.

Meanwhile, a two-part study conducted in the Philippines by advocacy groups, IAOMT-Philippines and BAN Toxics found high levels of mercury vapour in dental schools and other dental institutions. With measurements ranging from 183.5 ng/m3 to a high >30,000 ng/m, the values greatly exceed accepted occupational safety limits.

The study also pointed out that conditions and variables such as the weather, architecture, the lack of proper waste management policies or storage facilities have contributed to the high mercury vapour readings.

"Such figures are alarming,"€ explains Dr Ebuen, "€œMercury is a neurotoxin and short or long term exposure to mercury or mercury vapors can impact a person'€™s nervous, digestive, and immune systems."€

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), while everyone is exposed to mercury at some point, some sectors are more at risk, particularly those who work closely with mercury or mercury-containing products. This is true for dentists, dental aides, and even dentistry students as these occupations are routinely exposed to dental amalgam fillings.

Dr Ebuen then adds, "While practicing dentists have the luxury to choose and stop using mercury-laden fillings, dentistry students are obligated to handle and perform dental amalgam restorative procedures thus exposing our youth to unnecessary health risks."€

"€œAs we celebrate Dental Health Month this year,"€ states Dr Ebuen, "œWe would like to reiterate our call and remind everyone that mercury is toxic and should be handled with care. She congratulates the government'€™s efforts in limiting mercury use in the country but still a lot needs to be done in the field of dentistry and dental education."

"œThe Minamata Convention on Mercury is a great step forward but to truly protect the people and the environment, we must address the continued use of dental mercury not only in dental offices but in the universities as well."

IAOMT-Philippines thus proposes the following:

An immediate phase out and eventual ban on the import, distribution, and trade of dental amalgams be put in place.

The implementation of safety standard procedures in the storage, handling, and disposal of dental mercury.

The promotion of mercury-free restoration materials.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) to revise and update the dentistry curriculum and put less emphasis on dental amalgam use and instead prioritize mercury-free alternatives.

And a sector-specific information and education campaign to raise the dental health sector'€™s awareness on toxic wastes management.

Petition For The Immediate Phase-out of Dental Amalgam

We have put up a petition on Change.org regarding the phase-out of Mercury/Dental Amalgam in Dental Schools.

We are calling for the Commision on Higher Education (CHED) and Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to move and change the dental curriculum so as to protect our dentists and dentistry students from unnecessary mercury exposure.

Please click on the link below to sign our petition:

https://www.change.org/p/iaomt-philippines-no-mercury-fillings-please

IAOMT's Online Courses


If you are still on the fence about dental amalgam fillings, IAOMT provides an IAOMT Online Course that details its history, its use, and its impact on health and the environment. In addition to dental amalgam fillings, this free online course has introductory videos on fluoride, nutrition, and hidden pathogens.

These lectures are easy to use, understand, and has all the latest research on the given topics. As such, these are not only a recommended watch for dental professionals but also for dentistry students and for anyone who has an interest in dental health.

If you are a dental professional, seeking a more thorough and technical discussion of the issues, IAOMT also has a course specifically designed for you. The professional courses require registration and a definite must if you want to be accredited by IAOMT.


For further questions regarding accreditation, you can get in touch with IAOMT-Philippines through Facebook or you can call us +632.7235167

Click IAOMT Online Courses to see IAOMT's online course options.

Dental Amalgam Removal: Know the Protocols

The process of removing dental fillings is a complicated process. It may appear to be a very straightforward and no hassle procedure, but in truth, drilling and removing chunks of mercury-laden filling releases fumes and particulates that can cause harm to the environment, the dentist, and the patient.

To minimize or completely do away with the risks, dentists and their staff need additional training and must be equipped to handle complications that should arise from the procedure. With that said, IAOMT credited dentists are trained and know the importance of containing mercury fumes and particulates. Below are important pointers when removing dental amalgam fillings.


Dentists must have the proper equipment for removing dental amalgam fillings. The dental office must have a suction system equipped with a special tip (or its equivalent) that can contain amalgam particles. A mercury separator should also be installed to ensure that water wastes are filtered and no pieces of mercury filling are poured out into our sewage and water system.

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Dentists and staff must wear protective gear during the process. Hair nets, disposable gloves, and most importantly, a special mask/respirator to guard against invisible mercury fumes and particulates.

Patients should also be protected from exposure. The patient'€™s face should be covered with a damp paper towel or surgical drape. He or she must also be provided with piped-in air so as to avoid breathing air directly over the mouth during the procedure. Rubber dams must also be used to protect the patient from the filling debris.

Remember that mercury is volatile and heat caused by drilling will release mercury vapors. Keep the vapor release to a minimum with a continuous spray of water.

Amalgam should be removed or cut in large chunks. Do not grind the fillings as grinding will result in smaller bits.

Lastly, dispose of the wastes properly. The dental office must also be properly ventilated to ensure clean air flow.

These are only brief guidelines and pointers. Dentists who are looking into including dental amalgam removal in their practice are encouraged to take an intensive training provided by IAOMT-Philippines.

For further info, check out IAOMT's minimum guidelines for amalgam removal.

Your Rights as a Dental Patient

When enquiring or receiving any kind of medical or dental treatment, ensure that you are provided with sufficient information. Always ask about other treatment options, the costs involved, and its advantages and disadvantages. Good communication with your dentist is vital in guaranteeing adequate treatment and care. As a patient and more importantly, as a human being, you are entitled to a set of rights that serve to protect y­ou against discrimination and unscrupulous dental practices.

You have a right to:

High quality health care, without regard to ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, age, or disability.

Be treated with courtesy, respect, and the highest professional, ethical, and moral conduct by your dentist and his or her staff.

A dentist of your choice.

Access your complete and up-to-date records regarding your dental health and treatment options. This includes the risks, benefits, and alternatives before agreeing to a procedure. You have the right to learn how your dental health will be affected if you opt for no treatments.

Learn what your dentist regards as the optimal treatment for your dental needs.

Receive a free estimate of the treatment and to ask if the treatment plan can be scaled down to fit your financial status.

Refuse any treatment, including treatment that is already in progress.
Treatment that is complete and delivered in a timely and efficient manner.

Assistance in cases of dental emergencies.

Expect that all appropriate infection and sterilization protocols are to be followed by the dental office.

Patient confidentiality - treatment and diagnosis are confidential unless you agree to submit the information to others (such as insurance providers).

As we mark Human Rights Day this December 10, IAOMT-Philippines reaffirms its firm support and commitment to patients' rights.

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