Amalgam Removal

In the past, dental patients had little choice in the material used to fill cavities, and mercury-containing amalgam was the standard for decades. At Herre Holistic Dental KC, our dental team seeks to improve patient safety and whole-body wellness by removing amalgam fillings and replacing them with a safe, durable alternative.

What Is Amalgam?

If you have had to have a cavity filled in the past, you may have what looks like a silver piece or silver cap on your tooth. This is an amalgam filling, which is a mixture of mercury, tin, zinc, copper, and silver. Usually, these filling types are composed of about 50% mercury.
Dr. Herre discusses how the mercury in amalgam fillings impacts our health and explains how amalgam removal works
Health Concerns Regarding Amalgam
Due to the mercury content in amalgam fillings, many dental patients have become concerned about the possible health risks that amalgam may pose. It’s possible for amalgam fillings to release mercury vapors into the body, though this release tends to be in small amounts.

Vapor release can be triggered by tooth grinding and hard chewing, and typically occurs more in patients who have several amalgam fillings in their mouths rather than a single filling.

While patients with amalgam fillings tend to have slightly higher levels of mercury present in their bodies, the levels usually remain low enough to be “safe.”

However, the idea of having any increased exposure to mercury understandably makes many dental patients uncomfortable, which is why Dr. Tim Herre and Dr. Erica Ketchem aim to both reduce patients’ worries as well as their exposure to potentially harmful material via amalgam removal.

Amalgam Removal

While it’s beneficial that dental patients have the opportunity to have amalgam material removed from their teeth, the process of removal must follow a safe and effective protocol. Removal requires a specific procedure to be performed by a well-trained dental professional in order to reduce exposure risks during the process.

Fortunately, both Dr. Tim Herre and Dr. Erica Ketchem are more than capable of safely removing amalgam fillings from the comfort of the Herre Holistic Dental KC office.

There are, however, a few important factors to consider during amalgam removal procedures.

Symptoms of Mercury Issues in the Body
Though severe mercury exposure is not common in relation to dental amalgam, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms mercury exposure may cause, which include:

  • Tremors
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Problems coordinating the limbs
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble with memory
Who Should Consider Amalgam Removal?
Anyone who has amalgam fillings can opt to have them removed in favor of safer filling materials, but it’s especially advisable to have amalgam fillings removed if a patient is part of the following demographics:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
  • Children, especially those under six years of age
  • Patients with kidney dysfunction or kidney-related diseases
  • Patients with neurological impairments
  • Individuals who are sensitive to the metals in amalgam fillings
In past decades, amalgam material was commonly used to fill cavities in teeth because it was affordable and easy to use. However, because amalgam contains mercury, many dental professionals have opted to remove amalgam fillings and use safer materials for new fillings.

This way, patients can protect themselves from the health issues connected to amalgam fillings and make use of safer alternatives.

Amalgam Removal Considerations

The main goal during amalgam removal is to limit as much risk as possible to the patient’s mouth by isolating the tooth being worked on. This isolation is completed with the use of a rubber dental dam, a sort of covering that allows Dr. Tim Herre and and Dr. Erica Ketchem to access the tooth while covering the remaining teeth and gums.

After the tooth is isolated, the process involves removing the amalgam without letting it become too hot during drilling. Too much heat around an amalgam filling can create dangerous mercury vapors that are a risk to both the patient and the dental team involved. In order to keep the amalgam cool, the team uses water and dry air during the procedure to prevent heat buildup.

From there, Dr. Tim and Dr. Erica Ketchem will cut the amalgam fillings into small pieces to remove them more safely from the patient’s mouth. By cutting the filling, the dentist spares himself the need to perform more drilling than necessary. This, in turn, reduces the mercury vapors that may be created during the procedure.

After the amalgam pieces have been cut, Dr. Tim and Dr. Erica Ketchem will use a high-powered suction system that effectively removes both amalgam particles and mercury vapors safely from the patient’s mouth.

Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings

Herre Holistic Dental KC offers safe, natural alternatives to amalgam fillings, both in standard cavity repair and as replacements once amalgam has been removed.

During the initial consultation, Dr. Tim and Dr. Erica Ketchem will decide what’s the best biocompatible material for each specific case and will go over the procedure in more detail. The good news is tooth colored fillings allow for more conservative treatment and often can be completed in one visit.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’ve had amalgam fillings in the past and you’d like to have them safely removed and replaced with a healthier alternative, you’re welcome to reach out to Herre Holistic Dental KC at (913) 491-4466 or schedule an appointment with one of our helpful team members. Our experienced dental professionals are well-trained in performing the safest possible amalgam removal procedures.

Amazing care!!! They were able to get me in when I couldn’t get in to see where my Family Dentist referred. That location referred me to Dental Health by Herre. Dr. Herre was extremely thorough and very concerned about my oral health. I would recommend this to anyone!!

Tracy M.
Leawood, KS


Herre Holistic Dental KC

11201 Nall Avenue
Suite 120
Leawood, KS 66211


Monday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am - 3:00pm