OET Dentistry Removing amalgam fillings

Role play cards
Setting: Dental Surgery
Dentist: Your patient is a 48 year-old who works in a health food shop. She is concerned about her mercury fillings and is worried that the mercury is leaching out. She thinks she wants to have them replaced. She wants to know if they are dangerous and is unsure whether they need to be replaced all at once. She is also worried about cost.

1. Find out why the patient has come to see you today.
2. Empathise about concerns – explain no proof that silver mercury fillings harmful / problems occur underneath old fillings e.g. decay under fillings and cracks in teeth.
3. Explain options – composites, inlays or onlays. Composites (tooth coloured, no drilling out of tooth, repair front and back teeth, bond to the tooth), Porcelain inlays (back teeth/large filling, stronger for increased pressure of chewing), Onlays (bonded outside/ cusps or points of the tooth are damaged).
5. Advise remove amalgams as problems occur not all at once (exposure to mercury greater when removed) / remove if patient grinds teeth or if signs of decay.

Setting: Dental Surgery
Patient: You are a 48 year-old who works in a health food shop. You are concerned about your mercury fillings and worry that the mercury is leaching out. You don’t really know if the information is correct or not. You want to have them replaced. Firstly, you want to know if they are dangerous and need to be replaced all at once. You worry about cost.

1. Explain that you are worried about your mercury fillings. You work in a health food store and have read how dangerous they are – leaching of mercury.
2. Sound unconvinced – what are the options to remove the mercury fillings?
3. Explain that you have decided that you would like to go ahead. Ask for advice
4. Explain that you have nine amalgam fillings – ask for advice about replacing them.

5. Thank dentist for the information, say you will check with your health fund about refunds.

OET Dentistry is a specialized language proficiency test for healthcare professionals who wish to work or study in an English-speaking environment. Dentistry is one of the key areas covered under OET and it involves a wide range of topics related to oral health, including the removal of amalgam fillings.

Amalgam fillings are a common type of dental restoration that have been used for over 150 years. They are made of a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. While amalgam fillings are durable and long-lasting, they can pose a risk to the patient’s health due to the presence of mercury. This is why many dentists and patients are now opting for alternative filling materials, such as composite resin or porcelain.

The process of removing amalgam fillings involves careful planning and execution to ensure the safety of both the patient and the dental team. This includes proper ventilation, the use of protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and the use of specialized equipment to minimize the release of mercury vapors during the removal process.

In addition to the technical aspects of removing amalgam fillings, dentists also need to be able to effectively communicate with their patients about the procedure. This includes explaining the risks and benefits of different types of fillings, addressing any concerns or questions the patient may have, and providing clear instructions for post-treatment care.

Overall, OET Dentistry covers a wide range of topics related to oral health, including the removal of amalgam fillings. Dentists who are able to effectively communicate about these topics in English will be better equipped to provide high-quality care to their patients in an international healthcare setting.


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