• Is your favorite toothpaste damaging your teeth?

    Toothpaste Abrasiveness

    The toothpaste you are using may be wearing away the enamel on your teeth! The grit in toothpaste is effective at removing stain and plaque however is abrasive for tooth structure.

    There is an abrasive index for toothpastes called the RDA Index. The higher the value, the more abrasive it is. At or below 45 may be an acceptable balance between benefit and risk if you must use toothpaste. Over 45 is a matter of how quickly the loss of tooth structure can occur based on the RDA, frequency of use, type of toothbrush, and brushing technique. The most ideal approach would to NOT use toothpaste but rather dip your brush into a mouthwash. The next best alternative would be to use only toothpowders or gels, which are typically less abrasive. If you don’t know the RDA of your toothpaste, you can find out by using the consumer information on the package or container. The following list gives the RDA index of just some of many toothpastes that exist today.

  • Having multiple fillings could cause toxic levels of mercury in blood

    Recent research found that adults with more than eight fillings had 150 percent more mercury in their blood than those without fillings.

    October 03, 2016

    Extended mercury exposure can be particularly dangerous to a one’s health—and a new study has found that the danger is greatly exacerbated in patients with eight or more dental fillings.

    Researchers at the University of Georgia ’s College of Public Health announced a definitive link between increased mercury levels in blood and dental fillings. High levels of mercury can be toxic, and can cause brain, heart, lung and immune system issues, among other concerns. While mercury exposure from amalgam fillings (which are made up of mercury, tin, silver and other metals) has been a concern in the past, no conclusive research had been performed.

    “This study is trying to provide the most accurate levels of exposure, which will form the scientific basis to make future risk assessment,” says study co-author Xiaozhong (John) Yu .

    Related reading: New dental fillings could actually REPAIR tooth decay

    The researchers studied data from over 14,000 patients to examine associations between amalgam restorations and several types of mercury, including blood total mercury, inorganic mercury and methyl mercury. The presence of amalgam fillings was found to increase mercury levels in patient’s blood, with the levels increasing in correlation to the number of fillings. Patients with more than eight fillings presented with approximately 150 percent more mercury in their blood. In particular, methyl mercury (the most toxic form of mercury) was found to cause damage even at low levels.

    “As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. So, if you have one dental filling, maybe it’s OK. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher,” Yu said.

    According to a dental health survey conducted in the United Kingdom, 90 percent of adults and two-thirds of young adults ages 16-24 in the UK has at least one filling. On average, adults had seven fillings, with 84 percent of all filled teeth restored with dental amalgam, which has been the go-to material for restorations for more than 150 years. Across the ocean in the United States, the average American has three dental fillings, with a quarter of the population having 11 or more fillings.

    Trending article: 9 of the scariest medical conditions with links to oral health

    With so many individuals with multiple fillings, finding an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings has become increasingly important. Recent research out of Queen Mary University may have found just that, with the development of bioactive glass composite fillings. The new composites help repair tooth decay through the release of fluoride, calcium and phosphate; components that are all key to the formation of tooth mineral. While amalgam fillings are made up of inert materials, the bioactive glass actually replenishes these minerals that were lost due to tooth decay. Additionally, the bioactive glass can prevent oral bacteria from infiltrating the tooth further, by filling in the gaps with tooth mineral.

    “There is huge pressure to eliminate mercury based amalgam fillings by 2020, which is outlined in a host of international agreements,” says Richard Whatley , CEO of BioMin Technologies . “Using this type of bioactive glass composite to fill cavities eliminates the need to use mercury-based amalgam by offering esthetic white fillings which help heal the tooth.”

    The full mercury study, “ Associations of blood mercry, inorganic mercury, methyl mercury and bishenol A with dental surgace restorations in the U.S. population, NHANES 2003-2004 and 2010-2012 ,” will be published in the December issue of Exotoxicology and Environmental Safety .

  • Dental Implants

    Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal

    Leave a Comment

    FAQ: Root Canal

    Root canal. The term typically invokes immediate fear! But rest assured, you don’t need to experience discomfort during a root canal treatment. In fact, thanks to modern dentistry, a root canal can save your natural tooth and give you many years of normal function preserving your smile.

    Why would I need a root canal?

    A root canal is required when a tooth becomes infected. These infections are caused by large cavities where bacteria travels into the nerve or cracked tooth from trauma. The usual symptoms include sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks, tooth discoloration, pain to biting and swelling of the gums or cheek. Sometimes there is no pain or symptoms. We identify problems with a thorough clinical exam and routine x-rays.

    What exactly is a root canal procedure?

    First, we numb the tooth with a local anesthesia and then use a dental dam to isolate the tooth for a clean working environment. In a root canal procedure, the nerve, or root, is removed so that there is no feeling in the tooth but the tooth itself remains in the mouth. With a dental hand piece, we’ll remove the decayed portion of the tooth and access the pulp chamber and canal to clean out the bacteria. Finally, the pulp chamber is filled with permanent filling materials such as tooth-colored filling material such as composites. In most cases, a final restoration of a crown is required after the root canal is completed to stabilize the tooth and protect the root from fracture.

    Will a root canal hurt?

    This is the question we’re most frequently asked. The procedure should not be uncomfortable. At our practice, we initiate a discussion up front about any concerns so that we can ensure a relaxing, pain-free experience.

    How long will it take?

    The initial root canal visit is usually about 1 hour. A second visit for a crown is about the same amount of time 1 hour.

    Will I be in pain after the root canal?

    Some mild discomfort is normal. You’ll especially notice it if you tap on your tooth with your tongue or finger. Typically, an over-the-counter pain reliever will take care of this minor discomfort.

    What happens if I decide not to have a root canal?

    It’s understandable if you’re concerned about the necessity of a root canal. I encourage patients to seek out second opinions. If you opt not to have a root canal, several things may happen. You may develop pain or the tooth may abscess, creating a swelling of the gums, face or jaw that may be dangerous. Another concern is that bone may be lost around the roots of the tooth as a result of the chronic infection. This can lead to problems with the mobility of the tooth and eventual loss of the tooth. If you decide you do not want to save the tooth with root canal treatment, the tooth will need to be extracted.

    How much will a root canal cost?

    The fees depend on several factors, including location of the tooth in the mouth, the type of filling materials and if the procedure is a retreatment of previous root canal therapy or a surgical procedure. A general range of fees at our office is $700-$1,300 which we’ll discuss with you in advance of any work.

  • To Floss or Not to Floss: That is the Question

    Do I Need to Floss My Teeth?

    flossingweb I get asked this question a lot.

    I think people keep asking because they’d like a different answer.

    But there’s actually no question about it! You must floss.

    4 Reasons You Must Floss Your Teeth

    1. The bacteria between your teeth is very damaging. Brushing and saliva can help remove bacteria from the surface areas of your teeth and mouth, but nothing else can remove the bacteria between your teeth except flossing.
    2. Along with brushing, daily flossing is one of the best ways to prevent dental problems and disease.
    3. The more you floss, the healthier your gums. Patients will tell me that their gums bleed when they floss. I advise you to be gentler until your gums become healthier. Healthy gums will not bleed. Bleeding gums mean inflammation & infection which comes from plaque.
    4. Bleeding gums can not only lead to gum disease, but can leave you susceptible to other infections and compromise your immune system. There are strong correlations between gum disease and heart disease.

    Tips for good flossing:

    • At the minimum, floss daily.
    • When the floss reaches your gum line, create a C-shape against the tooth. This will ensure a more thorough cleaning.
    • It’s best to floss in an orderly fashion so that you don’t miss any teeth.
    • Don’t forget that last tooth in each row of teeth. The back of this last tooth should be flossed as well.
    • If you do experience some initial bleeding, that’s normal if you’re not a regular flosser. This will stop over time as your gums become healthier.

    Remember, bleeding gums and plaque mean infection, which yields bad breath.