1. Remember your rights as a patient at all times.
As a patient, you have the right to know what is being put in your mouth. You also have the right to express concerns about any treatment offered to you, including the use of mercury/amalgam/silver fillings, all of which contain approximately 50% mercury. As part of your patient rights, you can ask to see the “Safety Data Sheet” (formerly called an “MSDS”) for mercury fillings and other dental materials. These descriptive sheets explain health hazards of chemical products. Additionally, some states, such as California, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, have fact sheets about dental fillings which dentists are supposed to give to their patients. Share what you have already learned, and ask your dentist about the procedure and materials used.
2. If you are having your amalgam fillings removed, read about precautions that can be taken to protect you and your dentist from additional mercury exposures.
Familiarize yourself with the information about the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) on this website. You might also want to consider searching for a SMART-certified dentist. No matter what, be sure to utilize our SMART Checklist for Patients and Dentists so that you and your dentist can be sure that you agree on which safety measures will be applied.
3. Bring copies of any documents of interest you have already found with you to your dental visit.
It is one thing to tell your dentist about something you read, but it quite another to have a copy with you. This means doing your own research before your appointment. In addition to learning about SMART and using the SMART Checklist for Patients and Dentists, you should explore potential health risks of amalgam fillings that directly relate to you and your family. For example, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has dental mercury fact sheets and webpages designed to help you learn more.