Maine dentist discusses how biologic dental care helps with healthy teeth and gums
Biologic dentistry is focused on how your oral health affects the health of your entire body. Healthy teeth and gums are important for wellness. At Maine Center for Dental Medicine, two ways we help patients enjoy healthier teeth and gums are through amalgam filling removal and therapeutic root canals.
If you’ve received a filling in the last 50 years, you may have an amalgam filling. Once considered the ‘gold standard’ for filling material, amalgam has been used less in recent years due to its high mercury content. Mercury, a known neurotoxin, can have harmful effects on the body.
Why patients choose amalgam removal
Some patients decide to have their old fillings replaced due to aesthetics. Amalgam fillings are silver in color and can be obvious in the smile. Other patients express concerns about the mercury content of the amalgam fillings. And, there are patients who need to have it replaced due to damage or degradation.
Choosing an experienced dentist
When you make the decision to have your amalgam fillings removed, it’s important to find an experienced dentist who knows how to do it safely. Dr. Imam and Dr. Khan are biologic dentists who understand the harmful effects of mercury on the body. Many patients in Maine turn to us when they decide to have their old mercury fillings replaced.
Safe removal techniques
When we remove amalgam fillings there are several precautions we take to minimize patient and staff exposure to mercury. They include:
- Use of a rubber dam to minimize mercury ingestion
- Use of an alternative air source/oxygen
- Cutting the amalgam filling out in large chunks
- Keeping the amalgam cooled to minimize mercury vapors
- High volume suction and an oral vacuum to catch mercury particles
- Ozone gas
- Mercury vapor ionizers
- Specialized air purification
Safe, natural-looking alternatives to amalgam
Once the amalgam is safely removed, we will replace it with a metal-free filling such as composite resin. Composite resin is a tooth-colored material that is safe, biocompatible, and blends in seamlessly with the teeth. The composite material is bonded directly into the tooth and does not expand and contract due to temperature changes, which makes it a stable, long-term option.
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Say the term “root canal” in front of a patient and many immediately begin to worry. Root canals have developed a reputation as one of the most dreaded dental procedures, when in reality there is nothing to fear. Modern dental techniques have made root canal therapy an effective, pain-free procedure. At the office of Dr. Imam and Dr. Khan, we have the experience and skill it takes to make your root canal a success.
Modern root canal therapy
At one point in time, teeth that were badly infected had to be removed to preserve oral health and prevent the spread of infection. Today, in most cases the tooth structure can be saved by undergoing a root canal.
Root canals vs. extraction
Many ask how we determine which teeth need a root canal versus which teeth need to be extracted. The answer is that we opt for root canal treatment whenever possible to save the tooth. In the end, root canals are less expensive than extractions. During your appointment we can go over the pros and cons of root canals.
The root canal procedure
The root canal procedure is like filling a cavity. To begin, the dentist will to remove any decay from the tooth, followed by removal of the infected pulp. The inside of the tooth, which includes the pulp chamber and root canals is cleaned out to eliminate infection. Once this process is finished, the tooth is filled and sealed to prevent future infection.
Following the root canal, a dental crown is placed on top of the tooth to protect it from further damage. Because a substantial portion of the tooth structure is removed to eliminate infection, a tooth is often weak and brittle after a root canal.
At Maine Center for Dental medicine, we focus on services that help you have healthier teeth and gums. If you are in the Skowhegan, Maine area call us today at (207) 808-7355 to learn more about our biologic dental services.