At our Richmond dental clinic, we maintain a solid commitment to sensible and sustainable water use. Between 2008 and 2011, we participated in the Dentists for Cleaner Water initiative promoted by the Victorian branch of the Australian Dental Association.
This initiative promoted the use of dental separators in dental practices. In addition to general dentistry functions, separators filter waste dental amalgam from dental fillings before the waste enters the sewage system.
Although rarely used in modern dentistry, amalgam fillings contain mercury. This element, if released into the environment, can accumulate in animals and the water supply. When humans ingest mercury in excessive amounts, they can report adverse effects to the brain, lungs and kidneys. In short, it’s not a good idea for humans to have too much exposure to mercury.
While the Dentists for Cleaner Water program is no longer running, our dentistry techniques continue to align with its core elements. At our Richmond dental practice, we:
- use composite materials free of amalgam in our dental filling procedures
- remove and replace patients’ existing mercury amalgam dental fillings in the most protective way possible – patients are protected using a rubber dam as an isolation device
- ensure our staff wear complete personal protective equipment (PPE) when removing and replacing patients’ existing mercury amalgam dental fillings, which includes masks, goggles and gloves
- use a dual suction evacuator to prevent any waste amalgam from being ingested or inhaled
- operate special clean water systems for instrument sterilisation
- fit out our four dental suites with water apparatus for suction and deep cleaning
- commit to sensible amalgam disposal by storing all waste in a covered amalgam waste container, according to Australian Dental Association guidelines
- direct amalgam waste to an approved recycler
- operate a dental separator unit.
Come and see our ongoing commitment to environmental dentistry first-hand.