Amalgam Fillings Update
As many of you know, we do not use mercury amalgams to fill teeth at our office. While the debate about mercury fillings rages on, our decision not to use them has hinged on two factors:
First, as of 1996 Health Canada limited the use of mercury amalgam due to concerns with toxicity in children, those suffering from several types of chronic disease and those women who are or may become pregnant.
Second, City of Victoria bylaws no longer allow mercury amalgam residue or dust into the sewer system due to the environmental hazard it causes. This makes it very difficult to justify placing a material in our mouth that cannot be placed in the sewer.
Add to this the ease of use and durability of the new generation of white composites and it is no wonder we prefer to place them in small to medium sized cavities.
For those lucky enough to have dental insurance, you may find that your plan will cover some, most or even all of the dental treatment you wish to get. The great difficulty lies in trying to find out how much is covered and therefore what portion you are responsible for prior to having the treatment completed. Most insurance companies will not tell us what is covered in your plan. It is the patient’s responsibility to find out what is covered in their plan, so it is important to keep abreast of any changes or limitations and ensure that we are informed. As a service to our patients, we will fill out claim forms and submit claims to your insurance company. However, any limitations or outstanding balances will be the responsibility of the patient.
A little calculus won’t kill you, but then again...
The importance of good dental health has gone beyond the boundaries of the head and neck. Those same bacteria that are implicated in gum disease (periodontal disease) are also noted bad guys in other major body diseases. Stress was once thought of as the predominant factor in stomach ulcers. Research now confirms a bacterial association that predisposes some people to having stomach ulcers. It’s the same group of bacteria found in gum disease.
We associate heart disease with smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. These are all factors that can be changed by the individual to prevent heart problems. Floss is another important factor in reducing risks associated with heart disease. That’s right—FLOSS. Once again, those same bacteria involved in gum disease can cause havoc with your heart. The same thing goes for the lungs. Respiratory diseases (COPD) can also be further complicated by these same gum disease bacteria. Still think a little white string can’t do much good? Read on.
Mothers-to-Be: Get out Your Floss!
What do babies and good flossing habits have in common? Incredibly research has verified that low birth-weight babies have been linked to the oral health (or lack of oral health) of the mother. This first came to light back in 1931. It was suggested that 18.2% of premature low birth-weight babies are associated with gum disease. These babies account for more than 60% of mortality among babies born without other anatomic or congenital abnormalities. Recent studies further the association. Apparently, the various by-products of gum disease enter the bloodstream, course through the mother and cross into the amniotic fluid. These bad guy bacteria go by the name “Porphyromonas gingivalis”.
Still think you don’t have enough time to floss?
It is important to know that Victoria’s drinking water does not contain an adequate amount of naturally occurring fluoride to prevent dental decay. Our office is happy to explain your fluoride options to ensure your children develop the strongest and healthiest teeth possible.
Now that you’re motivated to improve your oral health, give us a call today to schedule an appointment!