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.

Ouch! What to do if your child gets a tooth knocked out

Summertime can be one of the most fun and active seasons for your child, but it can also be one of the most dangerous seasons when it comes to dental injuries. It is not uncommon for children to fall off a bike or get injured during a sport and realize they have lost a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Teeth can be saved in most cases when an adult can quickly jump into action. First, though, check two things: make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries that may require an ambulance, and determine if the tooth that was knocked out was a baby tooth or an adult tooth.

If the tooth was a baby tooth, don’t worry about finding the tooth or getting it placed back into the mouth. It is still a good idea to see the dentist to make sure no other damage was done, but it is not vital to save the tooth when an adult tooth will soon be erupting anyway. If, however, it was an adult tooth, there are several things you can do to preserve the tooth and increase the chances of it being successfully replanted into the mouth. Just remember that the faster you locate the tooth and get your child to the dentist, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out:

  • Do not let the tooth dry out, and do not soak it in water. If the tooth is dirty, put it in milk immediately.
  • Do not scrape or touch the root surface.
  • After making sure the tooth is clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place on the way to the dentist. If it cannot be put back into the socket, keep it in a glass of milk to prevent it from drying out.
  • Go straight to your True Dental Disocunts dentist or a hospital immediately. During treatment, a dentist will give your child a “splint” to keep the tooth in place while it heals.

It is important to remember that knocked-out teeth can often be prevented by reminding your child to wear a mouth guard during recreational and sporting activities. Teeth are surprisingly easy to damage, so it’s always better to be overly cautious and protect your child’s beautiful smile.

Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing. Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments.

Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists. Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts -plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.