The dental amalgam waste is an integral part of any dental practice as amalgam is a commonly accepted dental filling. According to its historical background dentists started using it as a dental filling more than a century ago. This worldwide accepted amalgam comprises mercury as a base and one or several other metals. Such unique structure gives this dental practice a lot of positive characteristics. The attractiveness of the dental amalgam for the dentistry is obvious due to the fact that it does not have a high cost; it is very fact to use, serves for a significant time and also does not allow bacteria in. Nevertheless, these characteristics do not cover one huge “defect” of the dental amalgam – toxicity. This toxicity is the result of using mercury as a base for the dental amalgam. Therefore the use of dental amalgam due to this fact has a rather controversial character.
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In terms of dental hygiene, dental amalgam is an essential part of any dental practice due to its capability to control the infection and its aseptic character. AT the same time the toxic character of the dental amalgam and mercury exposure as a consequence are said to be the stimulators of different chronic diseases starting from birth defect and ending up with al types of mental disorders. Exposure to mercury hits the immune system of the organism, making it vulnerable and weak. So on one side is the easiness of application, durability and the infection prevention character of the dental amalgam and on the other side its toxicity which leads to various health problems for the patient. Dental amalgam treats cavity and restores teeth but at the same time put the immune system of the person under a toxic threat.
Dental amalgam can by applied to any person despite of the individual’s age. It is especially useful for patients who have severe dental hygiene problems. It easily treats the poor dental hygiene of a patient, and in its turn facilitates further dental procedures (Roberts,2005).
The use of dental amalgam generates waste. This waste is very harmful for the environment of the planet. As mercury can accumulate in the water resources of the planet eventually it concentrates in fish and gets to the food chain of people causing serious health problems. This is the reason the dental amalgam waste cannot get to the municipal garbage and requires special technology of disposal and further recycling. This extremely important due to the fact that dental amalgam, under the influence of temperature releases mercury and cause health issues for the community. Therefore the only way to recycle dental amalgam waste is to keep it away from any other types of waste. The best option in term of amalgam waste is the distillation process. In terms of dental amalgam waste it is necessary to mention the Dental Best Management Practices which is what keeps the process of amalgam disposal and recycling under control. Dental Best Management Practices deals with amalgam waste collection programs and working with amalgam on concrete schemes such as using amalgam separators, vacuum collectors and other (JADA, 2003).
In order to make sure that the dental amalgam waste does not harm the environment it is necessary to follow five basic recycling steps. Step number one deals with the storage of amalgam capsules in many containers to decrease the waste quantity. Step number two positions dental amalgam as mix that is in constant contact with the body fluids of a human organism, therefore may be potentially dangerous for health if used without protective equipment such as masks, gloves and other. Step number three implies that the dental clinic will ask the recycler for any existing type of the requirement for dealing collection, transportation and storing of the dental amalgam waste. Amalgam waste is to be recycled according to a special recycling program of the area. Step number four states that any dental amalgam waste is to be store in special plastic containers with a label indicating what type of waste it is. The requirements of the recycler are to be strictly followed and the last step deals with the compliance with ADA-ANSI standard of dental amalgam waste recycling. These recycling steps are applied for all types of amalgam waste: capsules, non-contact amalgam (scrap amalgam) and non-contact amalgam (Meskin, 2001).
As dental amalgam is still widely used therefore dental amalgam waste due to its amount and toxicity may cause severe environment and health problems. In order to maintain the toxicity of the amalgam waste under control it is necessary to make sure that it goes through the corresponding disposal and recycling program, which minimizes its hazardous influence on human body.
ADA council on scientific affairs. “Dental mercury hygiene
recommendations”. Journal of the American Dental Association. Vol.134(11)(2003): 1498-9.
ADA council on scientific affairs. ”Dental amalgam: update on
safety concerns”. Journal of the American Dental Association. Vol.129(4)(1998):494-503.
Meskin, L., D.M.D. “Do no harm”. Journal of the American Dental
Association. Vol. 132(9)(2001):1200-1201.
Roberts, H., D.M.D. “Disinfectants’ effect on mercury release from
amalgam”. Journal of the American Dental Association. Vol.136(7)(2005):915-919.
Kranhold K. “Dentists battle ‘gag’ on warning about mercury”. Wall
Street Journal. B1(2001).
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