Effect of rubber dam on mercury exposure during amalgam removal

Leo Kremers, Stefan Halbach, Holger Willruth, Albert Mehl, Gerd Welzl, Franz Xaver Wack, Reinhard Hickel, Helmut Greim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


It was the aim of this investigation to treat 20 volunteers with maximally 5 amalgam fillings by the same comprehensive protocol in which all removals with (n = 8) and without (n = 12) rubber dam had been performed within a few months. Nine amalgam-related parameters indicated a close matching of both groups before removal. In the group without rubber dam, mercury (Hg) levels in plasma increased significantly above preremoval values at days 1 and 3 after removal; they decreased significantly below preremoval values at day 30 in the rubber-dam group and at day 100 in both groups. Excretion rates did not increase significantly in either group, but decreased significantly at day 100 in the protected group. Peak plasma-Hg was 0.6 ng/mL on average at day one and decreased with halftimes of 3 and 43 d in subjects protected by rubber dam. The results indicated that concentrations of total mercury in plasma responded rapidly to changes in the amalgam status and reflected the actual absorption most reliably. Notably, plasma-Hg levels were sensitive enough to detect a transient attenuation of the additional exposure by using rubber dam during the removal of only a few fillings. However, being small in magnitude and lasting 100 d at best, the rubber-dam effect had minor toxicological relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-207
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Amalgam
  • Blood
  • Kinetics
  • Mercury
  • Rubber dam
  • Urinary excretion


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