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When To Replace Amalgam Separator: Solmetex NXT Hg5

The amalgam separator by Solmetex NXT Hg5 needs to be replaced when the solids reach the "full line" that is dotted across the label. Alternatively, the manufacturer also recommends to replace it after 12 months even if the solids have not reached the full line.

How to tell when it needs replacement

The amalgam separator will be completely filled with water but you do not replace it when the water reaches the full line. You should only replace it if the solids in the container has reached the full line.

Photo of "full line" on Solmetex NXT Hg5: This container is filled with water with a tiny little bit of solids in it. The full line is dotted across the label.

Amalgam separator Solmetex nxt hg5 full line
Solmetex NXT Hg5 - Full Line

Visual differences between Water vs Solid in amalgam separator:

  • The water is lighter in color and tends to sit on top.

  • The solids is darker in color and tends to sit on the bottom of the container.

solmetex amalgam separator showing difference between water and solids
Water Vs Solid

Essentially it will form two layers, the bottom layer is solid and the top layer is water.

Photo example of same amalgam separator two months later: Here you can see the solids increasing in size after 2 months of use. yes, this is the same amalgam separator in the above photos.

solmetex amalgam separator nxt hg5 after 2 months of use
2 months of use

You can easily distinguish the difference between water and solids in the photo above. It is quite obvious in our opinion.

We will upload a photo of what the amalgam separator looks like once the solids have reached the full line once we're ready to replace it. Stay tuned until then!

What if I forgot to replace it?

If you do not replace the amalgam separator after the solids have reached the full line, it will begin to get backed up. This could caused major problems to your dental plumbing system and we all know that plumbing bills ain't cheap.

What happens:

  • The solids will continue to build above the "full line" but it stops after a certain point.

  • The solids will start to get backed up into the plumbing lines after that point.

We are embarrassed to admit this but we forgot to do this at our dental office.

  • After we replaced it, the new container got full after just a week of use, that was how backed up it was.

  • Normally it takes about 9 months or so for it to fill up but it really depends on how busy your practice is.

  • Thankfully, nothing happened to our plumbing system but if you've ever experienced any mishaps with the compressor/vacuum you know it can shut down the whole office when its out of commission!

Our dentists in Long Island City wrote this article to remind ourselves of when to replace the amalgam separator by Solmetex and also what the signs to look for are. It's really helpful to know how to replace this by yourself because you can save a lot of money.


David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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