When choosing a doctor, it’s smart to consider your personal goals for your health. This goes for searching for a dental health professional as well. The longevity of your teeth and the look of your smile are important to your overall well-being. Not all dental treatments are equal, and you want a dentist who has experience with the services and treatments you seek. Choose an office with a caring staff who takes the time to really listen to you. No two patients should be given the exact treatment. Your personal desires, budget and long-term goals should all play a part in the treatments you opt for. The Hills Dental Spa offers a luxurious spa-like environment for your total comfort, but even more importantly, the staff is trained to listen carefully to your needs and work for you to create a customized plan for your best health.
WHAT IS THE LATEST ON THE HEALTH RISK OF OLD AMALGAM (MERCURY) FILLINGS AND SHOULD I HAVE THEM REMOVED?
These types of fillings have raised a lot of controversy in the last decade or more. Some people have claimed amalgam fillings could be linked to a multitude of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. The ADA, the AMA and the FDA, along with numerous other accredited public-health organizations, have done thorough independent research within the last 10 to 15 years that have found zero connections or solid evidence to support such claims. There is not a higher incidence of people manifesting symptoms of these types of diseases when comparing patients with existing amalgam fillings, patients with amalgam fillings that have been removed and replaced with alternative restorative materials, and with patients that have never had an amalgam filling.
That said, these types of fillings can be harmful for very different reasons. Unfortunately, metal fillings, especially when left in place for too long, can definitely cause fracturing of your teeth and put you at higher risk for emergencies, tooth pain, tooth failure and tooth loss. Most fillings are intended to last eight to 12 years in a tooth. The larger the filling, the shorter the life span.
Metal, in a humid environment like the mouth, corrodes over time. This leads to gaps forming between the restoration and the remaining tooth structure. This gap formation will likely lead to new cavities forming under it, but worse yet, it causes a weakening that contributes to the surrounding enamel beginning to fracture. If left untreated, this crack line can lead to the nerve and cause severe pain or even spread to the root, which leaves the tooth untreatable. Therefore, the biggest danger to you when it comes to having old metal fillings still in your mouth is the much greater potential for more costly and inconvenient dental emergencies and procedures.
HOW SAFE ARE DENTAL X-RAYS?
Advances in dentistry and dental technology have led to almost immeasurably low levels of radiation when you receive full mouth and checkup X-rays. In fact, modern dental X-rays taken regularly are virtually harmless, especially in comparison to sun exposure, minerals in our soil and appliances in our homes. Digital X-ray machines and high-speed film limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed and requires very short exposure time (fractions of a second) to get the same results as older, traditional film. The use of lead-lines aprons protect the body from stray radiation, even though this problem is almost non-existent with modern techniques. And always remember, if dental X-rays truly increased your chances of cancer, then dentists and their staff would show a higher incidence than the general population. And, fortunately, that is not the case.
WHAT WILL HELP ME PREVENT DENTAL PAIN AND EMERGENCIES?
Nobody wants to be in pain, and dental pain is described by some as being worse than child birth! The best way to prevent dental pain and emergency situations is to visit the dentist regularly. This is also the best way to save money on your dental care. When dental problems are caught early, before symptoms are present, then treatment is less likely to be uncomfortable and will cost far less. Many people who have lost their dental insurance may stop going to the dentist for preventive exams and cleanings. They are trying to save money since they no longer have insurance to help with the costs. However, it is less costly to pay out of pocket for a checkup and cleaning as a way to prevent the much more expensive problems that come with neglecting professional care. Routine cleanings by your hygienist remove the plaque and tartar that contribute to future dental problems such as infection and cavities. Being proactive versus reactive almost always helps you avoid pain and emergencies. Modern dentistry and techniques are rarely painful when we diagnose potential issues early and address oral health concerns before any symptoms occur. Once your tooth expresses pain, the chances of that tooth needing either a root canal or extraction is far, far greater. Consider preventive care for better long-term health for your smile and to ease the cost of future treatments.