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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35-41

The practice of mercury hygiene among Nigerian dentists in three southwestern states

1 Faculty of Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Funmilayo IM Abiodun-Solanke
Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2384-5589.153386

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Background: Dental amalgam has been in use for a very long time in the field of restorative dentistry as an intracoronal restorative material. Despite its long usage, there have been reports about adverse health effects arising from the exposure to minute mercury released from amalgam to the dentists if not properly handled. Aim: The aim was to find out the compliance of Nigerian dentists with recommendations on mercury hygiene practices. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study using self-administered questionnaire consisting of three parts was conducted among registered dentists. The first part of the questionnaire sought demographic characteristics of respondents while second part assessed measures taken by the caregiver himself while working with amalgam and the last part assessed measures taken to control and prevent mercury contamination within the clinical setup. Result: There was total compliance with the use of gloves when working with amalgam among the participants. However, the house officers had the highest tendency of always wearing face mask and protective clothing followed by specialist in training. There was a statistically significant difference in the tendency to always wear face mask (χ2 = 21.37, P = 0.00) and protective clothing (χ2 = 24.77, P = 0.00) as against occasional and never wearing them, among the different categories of dentists. Compliance with the use of rubber dam and alternative source of air was found to be generally poor among the professionals studied. More than two-third of all dentists studied never used the two preventive measures. About 78% never used rubber dam when working with amalgam. The method of handling excess mercury was found to be more appropriate among the respondents in the teaching hospitals and poorest among those in private set-up. Furthermore, a great majority (87.5%) of those working in private clinics had never heard of mercury vapor monitoring. Conclusion: It was noted that some of the standard mercury hygiene practices such as the use of rubber dam, high volume suction, and water cooling when removing or polishing amalgam restorations were not followed properly.

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