Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

The FDA has issued amalgam fillings harmless, however some people are not convinced.  Amalgam fillings are silver and color and have a mixture of mercury, powdered silver, tin, and copper. The reality is that there are few things in the dental industry that have gotten more attention than these fillings.  In December of 2010, the FDA advisory panel got together again to reevaluate the safety of amalgam.  They decided to uphold the prior statement, however they advised the FDA to continue in the evaluation of the safety of these fillings.

Amalgam fillings have been used 150 years.  They have been the fillings of choice for so long because it is a very soft metal.

So you may be asking  yourself what is the big concern over amalgam fillings.  Well some critics have suspect that the fillings lead to neurological problems in fetuses and young children.  The FDA acknowledges that the fillings do release very low amounts of mercury vapor that can be inhaled.  The FDA concluded that the levels were too low to have any health implications to children above the age of 6.  They also stated that the amount of mercury was so low that it did not affect the quality of breast milk to any amount that would affect the infants.

However, despite all this the FDA reclassified dental mercury from a class I device to a class II device.  A class II needs special considerations and the dentist needs to warn the patient of any potential side effects.

There are alternatives to amalgam fillings and the truth is most dentists do not use them anymore.  There is a new composite resin material that is used in place of the amalgam fillings.  In addition to being safer this new style of filling is also white so it blends in perfectly with the other teeth.

Some people with amalgam fillings are concerned about the potential health risks and are seeking treatment to have their old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with newer white composite fillings.  Having this done can be expensive, especially if you have more than a couple cavities; unfortunately dental insurance does not cover this, but there are options like discount dental plans, provided by TrueDentalDiscounts.com that do help to offset the costs of amalgam removal by 20-60%.

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Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Basics

The field of cosmetic dentistry is growing at an unprecedented rate.  When home whitening strips came out, the effectiveness grew into a viral explosion of people becoming obsessed with the color of their teeth. There are two major types of teeth whitening and we will take a look at each.  As all both of them vary in their effectiveness.

In-Office Cosmetic Whitening:
This is the most effective and quickest way to whiten your teeth.  The procedure uses a highly concentrated amount of peroxide gel.  This procedure cannot be done at home because certain precautions need to be taken to protect the gums.  The dentist will put a protected with the help of a rubber dam to prevent the peroxide from hurting the gums.

The cost for this type of treatment can be pricey.  The peroxide is normally left on your teeth from 15 to 20 minutes.  In some cases they will leave it on for an hour, if there are stubborn stains.  Normally this procedure will cost around $650, and normally dental insurance will not cover it.  However you can normally get the procedure discounted from 20-60% by using a company like True Dental Discounts.

Professional Take-Home Cosmetic Whitening Sets:
Take home strips are recognized by many dentists as a legitimate product to whiten your teeth over time.  Take home strips and gels contain lower concentration of peroxide gel.  These OTC strips normally cost around $100 to $400 and need to be left on your teeth overnight.

Teeth Whitening Options:
OTC teeth whitening strips and gels are the cheapest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth.  Normally you can find teeth whitening strips or gels, in any major department store. The gel can be applied in a few different ways, the most popular being whitening strips, whitening trays, or whitening gels. Sometimes these whitening kits are not designed to whiten all your teeth, but only whiten the front teeth.  The kits normally range between $20 to $100. The home whitening kits generally work well for most people with mild staining, however many people with severe stains end up disappointed by the results.  If you do have more severe staining it is best to go to a dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Managing Out-of-Pocket Dental Expenses

Having a strict budget may be very cumbersome especially when health issues arise unexpectedly. Trying to spend a fortune on your dental health may not be a very good idea if you have a tight budget. It would be best if we had an inexpensive dental plan in order to cover most of our bills. The problem is, these types of dental plans are often very rare and expensive.

Most of us have a strict budget and do not have extra money to spend on dental health.  Unfortunately, dental issues often seem to arise at the least opportune times, catching us off guard and negatively affecting our finances.  Fortunately if your only option is to pay out of pocket, you will be pleased to know that there is a product known as a discount dental plan, that will reduce your out of pocket expenses up to 20% off  your dental.

So besides signing up to a discount dental plan to get your dental done at a discounted rate, the other things you can do is to focus on having a good preventative maintenance routine.  This is important not only at home, but also at the dentist.  You should set up 2 scheduled appointments a year for a checkup and a cleaning.  This is important because it is a relatively small cost for this and by doing this he can address minor issues while they are still minor.

It is important to have a good relationship with your dentist.  He can help you plan and budget for future expenses, by letting you know what to expect and budget for sometimes years in advance.  Some dentists also have payment plans to further help spread out the costs.

No matter how tight your budget is, there is always room to adjust. You can always sacrifice a portion of every part of your non-fixed expenses. Dental health is a very serious matter, so do not neglect it.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Many of us have bad breath or fear the embarrassment of having stinky breath and not knowing it.  Some foods are bad for bad breath like garlic and onions because they contain oils which are carried through the bloodstream to your lungs.  When  you breath out, the stinky leftovers are exhaled. The good news is just like there are bad foods to eat, there are also good foods.  Good foods can actually mask the stinky breath.  Here are some foods that will temporarily mask the bad smell.

Bad-Breath Buster
Foods that can help mask bad breath include:

  • Parsley. Parsley is one of the most effective natural ways to combat bad breath.  The magic to its success come from the oils that are contained in the Parsley.  Also herbs like cinnamon and spearmint can also work against bad breath.
  • Green tea. Green tea is another bad breath buster.  It contains catechin which is a powerful antioxidant that fights against bacteria, thus reducing odors caused by bacteria.·
  • Yogurt. Some studies have been conducted and have determined that certain cultures in yogurt help to reduce bad breath. ·
  • Apples and pears. “Fruits also help to produce saliva, which helps to revitalize the natural balance of the mouth and wash down odor causing bacteria.
  • Oranges. Oranges or really any fruit that is high in vitamin C is helpful to combat odor causing bacteria.  It also helps prevent gum disease. ·
  • Celery, Carrots, & Nuts. Crunchy foods are also good, they help remove plaque from the teeth and also help to increase saliva production.
  • Sugarless Gum.  Sugarless Gum masks the odor, but it increases the saliva in your mouth.  Saliva helps to wash away the smelly bacteria.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Food is really only a temporary solution to any bad breath problem. Most important, practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and floss daily. If bad breath is a problem, be sure to brush your tongue as well — that’s where odor-causing bacteria like to live, especially at night when your mouth is dry. Make certain to get regular dental checkups.

One of the best things you can do for your breath, is to practice good dental hygiene. This means brushing after every meal, once every morning, and once before bed.  You should also flaws and use a mouth rinse.

Fluoride And Your Teeth

Enamel the outer layer of the crown of a tooth is made of closely packed mineral crystals.

Enamel is a very important part of the tooth, it is a protective layer made up of very dense mineral crystals.  Everyday some enamel is lost due to a process called demineralization, this happens when plaque releases a acidic byproduct that harms the teeth.  Luckily your body naturally tries to fight back against demineralization and attempts to try to restore this destructive process.  This is done through minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel.

The reality is that your body probably will not be able to fully combat the effects of demineralization without some help.  Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay.  Fluoride helps in two ways.  When children drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and helps to build strong permanent teeth; also fluoride can strengthen teeth from the outside, when it comes into contact with the teeth.  When teeth are strengthened with fluoride, it makes it harder for the acids to erode the enamel of the teeth.

Treatments
Fluoride is all around us, it is in foods and used as a supplement in some drinking water.  This helps benefit the tooth development in people younger than 16.  Topical fluorides are also available in many dental tooth pastes or rinses.  While you are only using the fluoride for a short time, the elevated levels of fluoride levels last for hours after. When you go to the dentist professional fluoride treatments are given.  They are applied as a varnish, foam, or gel.  When the dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, it is in a much higher concentration than over-the-counter treatments. In certain cases special fluoride concentrations are prescribed to children who live in areas where fluoride is not added to the drinking water.  Normally these supplements will be given to children between the age of 6 months to 16 years old.

Supplements
Fluoride supplements should be given if your drinking water is not fluorinated.   They are available in liquids and tablets.  Your dentist or your pediatrician will need to prescribe them to you.

Is it Harmful
Fluoride is safe if it is used in safe dosages, but in heavy dosages it can be harmful, so it is important to monitor the fluoride levels if you are using it in your home.  City water is constantly monitored to maintain save fluoride levels.