Showing posts from September, 2018

How Often Are X-Rays Really Necessary?

You are at your semi-annual check-up with your dentist and everything is going great until that dreaded little word pops up: "X-rays." Nobody likes getting them, they are uncomfortable and if you have a bad gag reflex, well, you know how that one ends! There is also the concern with radiation and the risks associated with that. Is it really necessary to take X-rays and how often should you be getting them? The ADA states, " How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease." As a rule of thumb, in my office I typically recommend adults take X-rays of their back teeth (Bitewings or BWX) once per year and once every 5 years X-rays should be taken of all their teeth (Full Mouth or FMX/Panoramic or Pano). If you have a tooth that is causing pain, or have had a change in your mouth since the last time you had X-rays taken, then I also recommend getting an updated X-ray of

Should I be afraid of mercury poisoning if I have metal fillings?

Metal (also known as amalgam) fillings are a topic that is hotly debated. The debate stems from the fact that metal fillings contain mercury.  As a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) I tend to trust that they are guiding us with a foundation of science and evidence. The ADA still supports the placement of amalgam fillings and has found no health risks from having them placed in your teeth. The mercury is locked into the filling. I no longer place amalgam fillings because the composite fillings are a long lasting solution and they look much nicer. The older amalgam fillings tend to cause teeth to fracture and break after several decades. While there is not enough long term evidence to confirm this will not happen with composite fillings, it will likely be either the same or better.  I still have amalgam fillings in my mouth and I plan to leave them there until a problem arises, but as that happens I plan to replace them with composite. This is the same recommenda