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In case you missed the announcement, I wanted you to know Dr. Heid and I are now TV stars. That’s right – we were on TV twice last month! Green rooms, cameras, going to commercial break – those things are pretty much just part of our vocabulary now! Or maybe not…
Okay, we’re not stars, but we were able to share some pretty great things on Good Things Utah and on Channel 4 news. I know you weren’t all able to watch, so I want to fill you in on all the good stuff too.
On Good Things Utah we talked about the soda epidemic in Utah and what it’s doing to teeth. People (including unnamed team members at the office) have threatened to egg us if we tell them they can’t get their favorite “dirty” soda anymore. So, we took a different approach. We shared five ways you can have your soda and do the least damage to your teeth. It’s the wimpy way out, but we are realists. If you’re going to drink it, do it the right way.
Use a straw – this is one you’ve probably heard of before. This gets the sugary liquid past your teeth and down the hatch quicker.
Swig it – the worst thing to do is sip all day long. Every time the soda hits your mouth, it lowers the pH. This makes your mouth more acidic. This acidity dissolves your teeth. So if you drink it all at once, it only creates an acid mouth once. If you sip it all day long you are dissolving your teeth all day long.
Don’t brush after! I know, you want to brush that sugar and acid away, but that’s a very dangerous thing to do. After the soda, your mouth is acidic and your teeth are soft. So if you brush soon after drinking soda you may brush your tooth structure away too. Wait at least 30 minutes after finishing your drink.
Rinse your mouth with water after – Rinse out the soda and you will remove some of the acid and sugar. Warning – water will taste yucky after soda. Do it anyway!
Use a xylitol mint or gum after – Remember that acid mouth? A mint or gum stimulates your saliva, which will help get rid of the acid and make your mouth more alkaline. Make sure you don’t use a sugar containing mint or gum – only xylitol is safe!
One important thing to know is that Energy Drinks and Sports Drink are just as acidic as soda. In fact, some are worse! So don’t switch to something that is worse for your teeth.
Have you ever wanted a new smile but don’t want to go through the pain, hassle and years of braces? Well good news – you don’t have to. We now offer what we call “prep-less veneers”. It’s basically a very thin layer of porcelain that is custom crafted to fit on the front of your tooth. It is bonded in place, and can change the shape, size and color of your teeth. This is done in 2 appointments, and start to finish, you can have your new smile in a month. That is why it’s termed “Instant Braces”. 1 month instead of 2 years. Pretty amazing isn’t it!
On Channel 4 news we talked about mercury. I’m going to cut and paste my mercury info sheet here because it’s something everyone needs to know about – either for himself, spouse or other family members.
Mercury + Silver = Amalgam
The first mercury dental filling material was made in France in 1816. A Frenchman mixed mercury with shavings from silver coins. It formed a soft paste that could easily be packed into a hole in the tooth, and shaped before it turned hard. This was brought to the US in 1830 and was an instant success. Until that time, the filling materials available were thin lead sheets, gold, cork, tin, wood chips and pine resin. This new filling material was far better – it was inexpensive, easy to use, lasted a long time and sealed the tooth fairly well. It became popular very quickly.
That first filling material was 50% elemental mercury (the liquid shiny stuff in thermometers) and 50% silver. These fillings are typically called “amalgams” or “silver fillings”, but this is misleading. 50% of those “silver” fillings today and 150 years ago, are mercury.
Have you ever heard the term “mad hatter”? Hat makers in the 1800s would use mercury to turn fur into felt, the most common hat making material at that time. After repeated exposure to this mercury, the hat makers started showing bizarre behavior. This is where the term “mad hatter” comes from – the mercury quite literally was making them mad!
That is the background to dental mercury fillings, and they are still being used today in nearly 50% of dental offices in the US. Science and medicine has since confirmed that mercury is a poison to our system. Why are dentists still placing these fillings?
The safety of mercury fillings continues to be a very controversial subject. For your information, here are some undisputed facts:
Mercury is the most neuro-toxic, non-radioactive element on the planet. It is more neurotoxic than arsenic or lead, and some mercury toxicologists conclude that no amount of human exposure to mercury vapor has been found to be harmless.
Dental researchers now concede that mercury vapor is released from unstimulated amalgam fillings 24 hours a day. They do not agree on what this vapor release means for an individual’s health.
Chewing, brushing, temperature increases (hot liquids or foods), professional tooth polishing (if hygienist does not avoid amalgams), and clenching/grinding have been shown to stimulate the emission of mercury vapor.
The FDA and the American Dental Association promote amalgam fillings as standard of care dentistry. Dentists who place amalgam fillings do so in good faith, believing in the efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness, and longevity of amalgams.
Sweden, Austria, Denmark, and Norway have all banned amalgam fillings.
So… Do mercury fillings affect your health? STUDIES SUPPORT BOTH SIDES OF THE CONTROVERSY. You must do your own research and decide what is best for you. When existing amalgam fillings are still functioning, it must be your personal choice to have them replaced with other materials, either for health reasons or if you want your teeth to look better. Want an escape hatch? Let’s key in on the phrase above “when mercury fillings are still functioning.”
I’ve been a mercury free dentist for nearly 20 years. I made that decision because I don’t like what mercury fillings do to your teeth. If you have a bottle with a metal lid that won’t open, what do you do? Put the lid under hot water, right. Why do you do that? Because the metal expands when it gets heated, and the lid is easier to get off.
The same things happen in reverse. When the metal gets cold it shrinks. Now imagine a mercury filling in a tooth. The filling was intentionally formed like an upside down wedge in the tooth – wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. That was done to help the filling stay in your tooth (there is no “glue” under a mercury filling). You go to dinner tonight and get a delicious soup to start your meal. It’s so hot you have to blow on each bite. Your metal fillings are expanding with every bite – pushing outwards on the walls of the tooth it’s wedged into. For dessert, you have apple pie with ice cream on top. That ice cream hits the stop…and shrinks your fillings. They now pull away from the walls of the tooth as they shrink toward the middle.
Repeat. And repeat – every time you eat a meal with hot or cold food. Eventually the tooth walls will start to crack. A gap will also start forming around the edges of the filling as the filling expands and shrinks. Bacteria aren’t very big, so they can easily slip into that gap between the tooth and the filling. Can you brush underneath a filling? I don’t think so! This leads to new cavities underneath your old mercury filling.
How often does this happen? I have removed thousands of mercury fillings in my career, and I can from experience say that 90% of those old fillings have a new cavity underneath. And 100% of the teeth have cracks caused by the filling expanding. Guess what – I don’t even need to talk about the health problems that may be associated with your old mercury fillings to recommend they be replaced. Quite simply, mercury fillings aren’t a permanent fix for a tooth. They have an average life-span of 8-12 years. How long have you had your old fillings?
I was a “mercury-free” dentist for many years, and I still am, but after my health scare, I am now also a “mercury-safe” dentist. There is a difference. The greatest exposure to mercury comes when the old filling is drilled out. Since most mercury fillings will need to be replaced for functional or health reasons, it is essential you have them removed safely. Safe procedures can reduce exposure by up to 90%.
Ask for our Mercury-Safe Protocol information if you would like to know what we do to keep you – and all of our team safe – from mercury.
Well, like they say in show business, that’s a wrap! Let us know how we can help with your new Instant Braces Smile, removing mercury fillings, or just supporting you in your dirty soda habit! Thanks for sticking with us. We love our friends and patients at Total Care Dental!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen
This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our Lehi, Utah area dental practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.
Come experience Total Care Dental and you will see that our Lehi, Utah (UT) dentists and staff offer state-of-the-art, quality dental care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Provo, Pleasant Grove, Lehi, Orem, Lindon, Alpine Highland, Springville, Spanish Fork and surrounding areas. Whether you are seeking an Lehi, Utah general dentist, sedation dentist, or a completely different approach to dental care, we are here to provide results and the most enjoyable dental visit you will ever have! Call us at (801) 756-3737 and experience the difference with Total Care Dental.
Total Care Dental
12 S 1100 E
American Fork, UT 84003