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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-33

Knowledge and practices regarding mercury hygiene and amalgam waste disposal: A survey among general dental practitioners

1 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Rayat and Bahra Dental College and Hospital, Mohali, Punjab, India
2 Department of Oral Pathology, Rayat and Bahra Dental College and Hospital, Mohali, Punjab, India
3 Department of Prosthodontics, Rayat and Bahra Dental College and Hospital, Mohali, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Sarita Bhardwaj
Department of Conservative Dentistry, Rayat and Bahra Dental College and Hospital, Sahauran, Mohali, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-4003.201638

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Introduction: Amalgam, the most commonly used restorative material, is composed of nearly 50% mercury and 69% silver. It cannot be disposed along with biomedical waste (BMW) because mercury-contaminated waste cannot be incinerated or autoclaved. Objectives: To assess the knowledge and observance of proper mercury hygiene and amalgam waste management among general dental practitioners (GDPs). Materials and Methods: A confidential questionnaire containing 14 questions regarding handling and disposal of amalgam was randomly distributed to 175 GDPs in Chandigarh, Panchkula, and Mohali. A response rate of 78% was obtained, and results were statistically analyzed. Results: Out of total dentists surveyed, 71% were found to be using amalgam as restorative material, 63% were doing <5 amalgam restorations per week. Only 6.5% of dentists placed rubber dam during removal and replacement of amalgam restorations. Fifty-five percent of dentists used high-volume evacuation. Filter was used only by 6% dentists. For 98%, dentists' evacuation drained into regular drain. Eighty-six percent of dentists never used amalgamator. Only 31% of dentists stored leftover amalgam scrap in radiographic fixer. Fifty-one percent of dentists disposed the bottle of leftover amalgam scrap along with BMW. One hundred percent of dentists disposed amalgam-contaminated gloves and cotton along with BMW. Only 17% of GDPs periodically monitored mercury vapors in their dental operatories. Conclusion: There exists a significant lack of knowledge regarding mercury hygiene and amalgam waste disposal among GDPs. Guidelines on mercury management need to be strongly implemented to prevent contamination of environment by mercury.

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