THE TREATMENT TRYOUT
With so many clinics vying for your attention, knowing Which health tests and treatments are Worth your dirhams can be dizzying. this month, We ask Whether it’s time to remove those old, and potentially dangerous, metal amalgam fillings…
should you remove metal amalgam tooth fillings?
Metal amalgam filling replacement with laser dentistry specialist dr Sofia Aravopoulou
Who it’s for?
Anyone who has metal fillings that are more than five years old, or who is concerned by suggestions they pose a danger to health – amalgam fillings are now banned in Sweden, denmark and norway over fears the heavy metals they contain, including mercury, could be carcinogenic.
i’m not a fan of the dentist’s chair (is anyone?) but Sofia immediately puts me at ease. during a half hour consultation, she explains that while the jury is still out over how serious the risk posed by existing amalgam is, the protocol to remove it is incredibly strict as cutting into the filling can release mercury gases. This, she explains, is the reason i am going to be trussed up like i’m going for major surgery before the procedure can begin.
Why then, i ask, do patients choose to replace amalgam if removal is potentially riskier than leaving well alone? Partly, it’s aesthetics, Sofia admits. otherwise, it’s due to health concerns linked to metal toxicity. With many people these days going the extra mile to remove toxins from their diet and lifestyle, it makes sense to remove them from our mouths too, she reasons. Furthermore, the amalgam itself can start to corrode after just five years, becoming unstable and increasing exposure risk. While i only have three fillings in total, all done on the British NHS before i moved to dubai, my oldest was fitted when i was at university (whisper it) 14 years ago. now i’m concerned.
After an initial look at my fillings (one of which is indeed corroded), Sofia delicately numbs the affected area of my mouth and starts to get me kitted up for the first removal. i’m dressed in a surgical gown and two surgical caps, a nose-covering oxygen mask and protective goggles, and then my whole face, mouth aside, is covered in damp tissue. She then uses a rubber dam to cover everything in my mouth bar the affected tooth. To say the effect is claustrophobic would be an understatement, but with suction firmly in place, the removal takes a mere two minutes and is completely painless. i can then remove all of the surgical paraphernalia before she fits a perfect porcelain replacement. The lengthy protocol means only one quadrant of the mouth is treated at a time, so i am given an appointment to return a week later for the remaining replacements.
My new fillings are perfect, aesthetically, i’m feeling pretty good about my smile and i’m reassured to know the mercury is out of my mouth – particularly the corroded filling that could have caused problems. i’m also very impressed by Sofia’s decision not to charge more for amalgam removal, despite the extra time involved, to ensure patients (and their insurance companies) aren’t put off replacing aged fillings. in this city, that’s pretty refreshing indeed.
From dhs650 to dhs1,000 per tooth. direct billing and pay and claim are available. Check your insurance policy for eligibility.
Euromed Clinic Centre, Villa 611, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3945422. Taxi: Euromed Clinic, next to First Gulf Bank. euromedclinicdubai.com