How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stewart Shernan Your Own Question
Stewart Shernan
Stewart Shernan,
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 373
Experience:  Owner, Practitioner at Stewart D. Shernan, DMD
Type Your Dental Question Here...
Stewart Shernan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Yesterday my dentist began a root canal treatment on a tooth

Customer Question

Yesterday my dentist began a root canal treatment on a tooth I already had quite a deep filling in. He has drilled through the filing and started to file the root canals . Then put a white filler and scheduled a follow up appointment. My concern is he has drilled the old metal filling amalgam filling and not removed it entirely? Now I have a horrible metallic taste in my mouth that feels as though it is poison! What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Stewart Shernan replied 1 year ago.

Hello there,

It's not uncommon for an individual to "taste" the metallic filling during the process of removal. Normally this doesn't last beyond a day or so after the procedure.

It is also common when performing a root canal to drill through the older amalgam filling to access the canals but not remove the filling in it's entirety. This is usually because the remaining portion of the older filling is stronger and more protective of the tooth than if it were removed in it's entirety and replaced with the weaker temporary material (the white filling).

You may well be tasting the amalgam filling, the temporary material or a combination of both. While it's unpleasant, this is not generally regarded as unsafe. The element in amalgam regarded as toxic is mercury. but once the amalgam is mixed and set, the mercury is no longer in a "free" state - even when drilled. Thus it isn't absorbed by the body as free mercury. While there is some debate about trace amounts of absorption, research doesn't demonstrate a safety issue. Personally, in my practice, I prefer to err on the side of caution - I do not use amalgam. However, it is widely regarded as a safe material.

I assume when the filling was being drilled suction was used to removed most of the metallic particles. The residual taste can be bothersome, but not a significant danger.

If it is very bothersome, perhaps ask the dentist to remove the remaining amalgam filling and replace it with a harder interim material. This could add additional costand time to the procedure however and it is not the norm. Unfortunately, the most feasible solution is to have the procedure completed, have a new restoration place after the root canal, and tolerate the unpleasant, but not dangerous, taste.

Let me know if you need more information to answer your question. Otherwise, I'd appreciate a positive rating.

Be well,

Dr Shernan

Related Dental Questions