dental02.jpg (11342 bytes)Fundamentals of
Dental Materials

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Restorative Materials

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a. General. Amalgam restorations do not constitute a hazard to patients. However, dental personnel may invite a health hazard if exposed to concentrated mercurial vapors over an extended period of time. Mercury hygiene precautions should be used.

b. Mercury Hygiene Precautions.

(1) Training. All dental personnel must be instructed regarding the potential health hazards of mercury and what constitutes proper handling.

(2) Covering cuts and abrasions. All cuts and abrasions of the skin must be covered when handling amalgam or mercury.

(3) Washing hands and arms. All dental personnel must wash hands and arms thoroughly after amalgam operations.

(4) Inspection of capsules. Capsules must be checked for general condition and seal. Cracked capsules or those in poor condition will be discarded.

(5) Use of masks. All dental personnel must wear masks when removing amalgam restorations.

(6) Use of water coolant. A water coolant must be used to reduce and minimize the dispersion of particles during removal of amalgam restorations.

(7) Use of gloves. Handling amalgam with bare hands must be avoided.

(8) Use of standard containers. An amalgam well or a dappen dish must be used to hold prepared amalgam.

(9) Storage of materials. Old amalgam and mercury must be stored under fresh, clean fixer solution in strong, closed containers in a cool, fireproof area.

(10) Disposal of wastes. Disposable paper, cloths, and rubber items that are mercury or amalgam contaminated must be deposited into bag-lined, covered containers after use. Bag and contents must be disposed of daily.

(11) Avoiding heat. Amalgam mixing equipment, as well as mercury, must be kept away from any source of heat.

(12) Use of closed containers for amalgamators. Amalgamators must be kept inside closed containers as much as possible.

(13) Weekly cleaning of amalgamators. Amalgamators must be cleaned at least once a week.

(14) No carpeting in work area. There must be no carpeting in the part of the dental clinics where mercury or amalgam are used.

(15) Separate area for cleaning. The cleaning area for equipment for laboratories and other clinic areas must be kept separate and distinct from the cleaning area for equipment used with amalgam or mercury in order to avoid wide dispersal of mercurial vapors.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: May 22, 2017