physically and chemically and will not break down into the original elements.
Proper mercury handling and hygiene procedures are required for all dental personnel and will be emphasized during training and indoctrination periods. Before working with mercury-bearing materials (amalgam or scrap amalgam), personnel must remove all jewelry that could potentially become contaminated and permanently damaged. Eating, smoking, or drinking is not permitted while working with mercury-bearing materials. The use of patient examination gloves should be used to minimize skin contact. You should always wash your hands after working with mercury-bearing materials before leaving the DTR.
Work surfaces are made of impervious (non-porous) material, usually made of stainless steel or plastic laminate.
Personnel should use a no-touch technique for handling amalgam. After trituration (mixing) of the pre-encapsulated amalgam, personnel should use an amalgam well for loading the amalgam carrier. Personnel must also use water spray and the high-volume evacuator when cutting or grinding amalgam restoration. Collect all amalgam scraps before removing the rubber dam.
Amalgamators that completely enclose the capsule during amalgamation (mixing) should be used. The amalgamator enclosure should be inspected weekly for mercury globules and cleaned. The amalgamator should be disassembled only by a qualified dental repair specialist. Amalgamators, capsules, and other items that may be contaminated with mercury should be stored in an impervious catch tray. These items must be checked at least weekly for mercury droplets.
Amalgam scraps are left over pieces of amalgam generated from dental procedures.
During the placement of amalgam in a tooth, the amalgam is a soft and malleable compound that quickly turns into a solid hard mass. When amalgam turns solid, it is no longer useful for dental procedures and must be stored in a solids container.
Dental amalgam scrap is stored in a dry state in an approved solid container without any vapor suppressant solution and is not considered a hazardous waste.
It is also necessary to clean the solids strainer (collector) of the dental evacuation system and recover any scrap amalgam that has been evacuated (suctioned) during dental procedures.
Place any scrap amalgam from the solids strainer into a solids container.
The following containers are approved to store scrapamalgam:
Surgical needle jar with cover.
Urine specimen cup with cover.
It is very important to keep the dental scrap amalgam cover in place to prevent spillage when not in use. When the container becomes full, follow your clinic procedures for turning in scrap amalgam for disposal.
Vinyl sheeting is the preferred floor covering material for DTRs; carpet is not permitted. The use of pre-encapsulated amalgam products has not precluded dental waste or scrap from falling to the floor and being crushed into crevices; therefore, seamless floors are preferred. Floors should be kept clean and free of amalgam debris.
Mercury Decontamination and Spill Cleanup Procedures
A mercury decontaminant should be readily available for immediate mixing and application to a contaminated surface. The decontaminant works by binding with the elemental mercury. If larger droplets of mercury are present, the decontaminant only reacts with the outer surface of the droplet forming a shell. This shell can easily be broken, releasing elemental mercury. Care must be taken during removal of large droplets.
When mercury contamination occurs, it must be cleaned up immediately with a mercury decontamination kit. Follow the manufacturers instructions for use of these kits. Use the following guidelines for mercury cleanup and decontamination:
Do not eat, drink, or smoke during cleanup procedures.Continue Reading