What Is Amalgam?

New laws require dentists to follow ODA Best Management Practices and install amalgam separators

A new state law (Senate Bill 704) took effect Jan. 1, 2008, and subsequently was revised in 2009 (HB 3611), requiring Oregon dentists who place or remove mercury-containing materials from the oral cavity to install a separator. (i.e. amalgam restorations placed or removed, and extracted teeth with amalgam where the tooth is cut through amalgam.) The law also requires all Oregon dentists to be in compliance with ODA’s Best Management Practices (BMPs).

How does this new requirement affect you?

    • If your practice doesn’t place or remove dental amalgam or other dental materials containing mercury, you most likely will not have to install an amalgam separator.  One exception may be if during tooth extraction a dentist cuts through amalgam.  You still need to install a separator. 
    • Jan. 1, 2010 is the date when all dental offices were required to install amalgam separators in their offices.  
    • If you are building a new office or operatory, amalgam separators are required in all new dental office construction after Jan. 1, 2008.
    • All Oregon dentists must comply with the ODA's BMP's (Best Management Practices for Dental Waste). Check out the Dental Waste Recycling Information below.

Related Links:

What to do if you are not currently certified in compliance with ODA Best Management Practices

Elements to consider when installing amalgam separators 

Dental Waste Recycling Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Mercury/ Amalgam Collection - no longer free but still available at local waste facilities.


 Full text of Senate Bill 704

 Full text of House Bill 3611

If dental offices or waste water districts have questions regarding Senate Bill 704/ House Bill 3611 or the ODA BMP program certification, they may contact any of the following for assistance:

*The Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies, Oregon DEQ, Oregon Dental Association, the League of Oregon Cities, and the Oregon Board of Dentistry have collaborated to assist dentists and water districts in efforts to comply with Senate Bill 704.