Do you have a fear of needles?

do you have a fear of needles in Lincoln NE
do you have a fear of needles in Lincoln NE

Fear Of Needles

If you have anxiety about receiving dental injections, know that you are not alone. This is a legitimate fear that many patients have. The level of anxiety patients have about dental injections varies from person to person. Some patients only have the fear of needles in a dental office, while other patients try to avoid injections at all cost.

Most people who suffer from needle phobia have had a negative experience associated with dentistry, injections or pain during a medical procedure in general. We would like to help patients understand the reasons why dental injections can be painful and ways that we try to minimize discomfort as much as possible.

woman thinking about dental procedure about fear of needles

Location of Injection:

If the injection has to be administered in an area where the tissues are dense or tight, it is more likely to sting more than areas with looser tissues. For example, dental injections administered around upper molars are typically painless because the tissues in this area are soft and loose, allowing the anesthetic solution to slowly disperse throughout without stretching and causing pain.

In our office, clinicians use a technique which allows us to start administering the solution to areas with loose tissue, allowing the anesthetic to disperse and numb adjacent areas before continuing to numb other areas. This helps patients ease the fear of needles by only experience a minimal amount of discomfort even if the patient requires several areas to be numbed for a procedure.

time ticking fast

Administering the anesthetic too quickly:

Some clinicians make the mistake of administering local anesthetics too rapidly. This causes too much pressure from the solution against the tissues. Stretching and micro-tears occur, which causes pain and fear of needles for the patients and prolongs postoperative discomfort. It is best to administer injections slowly to allow the solution to disperse into the tissues without increasing pressure. Depending on the injection site, more time may be necessary to reduce discomfort.

In our office, providers ensure that they have set adequate time aside to spend with each patient to avoid rushing through this process. It is important to us that our patients have a positive experience, especially during the administration of a local anesthetic to avoid the fear of needles in patients. Our clinicians will slowly deliver your anesthetic over the course of several minutes depending on what areas need to be anesthetized.

gentle dental hands for fear of needles

Not making the tissue taut and injecting gently:

In some areas, it is more comfortable for the patient if the tissue being injected is stretched taut during the injection to allow the anesthetic to move through the tissue more smoothly. Some clinicians apply pressure, vibration or use a q-tip to help block out pain transmission in different areas of the mouth during the injection. Applying pressure during injections on tighter, denser tissue like the palate during the injection helps to block nerve signals and reduces pain, decreasing patient’s fear of needles.

hot temperature for fear of needles

Causes of Burning Sensation During Injections:

Sometimes a burning sensation can be felt during a dental injection. There a few reasons for this. One reason is that the anesthetic may be delivered too rapidly. Another reason can be that the level of acidity in the tissue is much lower than the anesthetic solution. This can be a result of infection or inflammation. This sensation does not last more than a few seconds and is not acutely painful, but some patients may be more sensitive to it. As the tissue starts to become numb, this feeling dissipates.

Our providers inject slowly to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible. Topical anesthetic only works on the surface of the tissues. By delivering a slow injection, this allows the solution to diffuse throughout the tissues, creating a more comfortable injection and reducing postoperative soreness. Typically, providers will spend about one minute or longer delivering a single carpule of anesthetic.

dentist showing empathy about fear of needles

Lack of Empathy:

Over the course of a dentist’s career, they see patients with painful teeth, abscesses and dental injuries. They may have pressure to work within stressful time constraints. This may create a level of desensitization toward empathy for their patients. It is ideal to find a dental provider who has not lost their compassion and empathy for patients and will spend the time required to utilize these techniques to create a more comfortable injection experience for patients diminishing the fear of needles.  If you are feeling anxious about dental treatment, let us know. We know that many patients have anxiety about treatment and legitimate fears based on negative experiences they have had in the past. We will do our best to help you feel calm and comfortable before and during the administration of local anesthetic.

topical anesthetic gel to help fear of needles

Not Using a Topical Anesthetic (Numbing Gel):

It is not impossible to administer a dental injection painlessly without using topical anesthetic in certain areas, but it should always be used for injections that could cause more discomfort. If it is left in place long enough, it is very effective for numbing the soft tissue and preventing patients from feeling the initial needle stick.

In our practice, we thoroughly dry the area where topical is applied to help the topical get direct contact with the area. Excess saliva will prevent the topical from contacting the tissue and make it less effective. Leaving the topical in place for at least 1-2 minutes is ideal.

dull needle for fear of needles

Using a Dull Needle:

Disposable needles have eradicated this issue for the most part, but it was once a common reason for painful dental injections and fear of needles. If a needle is used for several consecutive injections it can become slightly dulled and make the injections more uncomfortable. Ideally, a needle should be changed after 3-4 injections to prevent this issue. For a patient with memories of painful injections in the past, this may have been the reason for fear of needles.

Our providers typically utilize more than one syringe to avoid this problem but will change the needle during anesthetic administration after 3-4 injections.

allergic title

Allergy to Local Anesthetic?

Allergies to local anesthetics used today are quite rare, and only a few cases have been reported worldwide. Typical reasons for reactions to local anesthetics are more related to preservatives that are contained in the solution. Usually, when patients describe their reactions to anesthetics, they describe heart palpitations, shaking, sweating and feeling faint. These are not allergic reactions. These symptoms are related to the epinephrine found in anesthetic which is present in the solution to allow it to last long enough to complete the treatment in the area. This feeling typically lasts only 5-10 minutes immediately after local anesthetic is administered. We always let our patients know this is a very common part of receiving this medication so that they know it is not an allergy, nor is it an anxiety episode. Knowing this feeling is normal is very reassuring to patients, and will make the process easier for you.

cold temperature

Using Cold Anesthetic

Making sure that anesthetic is delivered at room temperature ensures that patients will experience less discomfort during the injection.

dr barth helping patient with fear of needles

Mandibular Anesthesia: The High Approach

Over the years, many patients have expressed concern about receiving adequate anesthesia during treatment due to negative experiences in the past. Some areas of the mouth are notoriously difficult to numb using traditional techniques. One of these areas is the lower jaw. Traditional techniques are not always reliable due to the variation in normal anatomy between individuals. Our providers use a proven alternative technique to numb the lower jaw, ensuring complete anesthesia for patients. Our technique is a hybrid of a few traditional techniques and allows us to target the exact location of the nerve branch. This technique is called the high approach to the mandibular block. The insertion point and angulation of the needle for this injection ensures that the anesthetic can target the nerve branch, ensuring effective and fast anesthesia.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.

Free Kindergarten Dental Checks

free kindergarten dental checks by children's dentists

Free Kindergarten Dental Checks

The Importance of Dental Care and School Performance

If your child is entering the school system this year, they’ll need an oral check-up to ensure good health. Nebraska requires an oral check for all kindergartners in public schools. Fortunately, parents can help them prepare for this requirement by seeing us at one of our free kindergarten dental checks this summer.

Our children’s dentists are willing and ready to help children and parents alike feel comfortable with the dentist. We often see kids leave our office excited to come back for more visits! This is ideal, especially for children, since they’ll need to start building habits for a long life of good health.

childrens dentistry lincoln ne

Children’s dentists on: Tooth Decay in Children

When it comes to chronic illnesses in children, tooth decay is at the top. Childhood tooth decay is incredibly common, affecting about 2 out of every 5 kids. For this reason, oral checks have become a requirement for kindergartners in every public school classroom. While the oral check-up only consists of a short, visual inspection by children’s dentists, the results are very telling for school officials.

Experts say that oral health is the most consistently neglected health need in young children and adolescents. During this check-up, licensed children’s dentists will visually examine the mouths of children to ensure adequate oral health. They’ll look for signs of dental infection and any other outlying dental care factors.

Seeing children’s dentists is key. Regular check-ups can begin as soon as your child has teeth. Consistent check-ups thereafter will help your kids start and stay healthy. Further, these appointments will allow children’s dentists to see any potential problems before they arise. Catching tooth decay, infection, and any other problems before your child’s kindergarten check-up will enable them to avoid referral for further dental work. That’s why we decided to offer free kindergarten dental checks for all children entering school.

To learn more about kindergarten check-ups in Nebraska and beyond, check out the resources below from our children’s dentists:

State Laws on
Dental Screenings for Kids

Children’s Dentists on Child Dental Care and School Performance

Any parent will tell you that it takes a lot to care for children. They’ll admit that it’s worth it though, as they watch their children grow up and succeed. Recent research has discovered a correlation between a child’s dental health, their school performance, and ultimately, their well-being. This information, while newly reported, has been considered true in the dental field for a time. For many children’s dentists, this was the driving force behind their decision to commit to dental care.

childrens dentistry nebraska family dentistry lincoln

In this recent research, it was found that reductions in school performance were common among children with dental problems. The same was discovered with regards to a child’s well-being. Children with mild to severe amounts of tooth decay were found to be more shy, self-conscious, and to have missed more school. They went on to say that dental health, as opposed to just overall health, has a huge impact on the social development of youth, a key factor in school performance.

For more information about this correlation, you can check out one of the multiple studies on this topic here.

health group for free kindergarten dental checks in lincoln ne nfd

Why Children’s Oral Health  Important? Our Children’s dentists explain

Oral health is necessary for everyone! Many people don’t realize the relationship between good oral health and excellent overall health. Since everything you consume passes through your mouth, it seems clear that such a relationship exists.

However, it’s more important for children to have good oral health. While adults have their habits developed (for the most part), children are only learning. If you can teach children the right way to take care of themselves from a young age, they’ll follow lifelong patterns of good health. The same can be true of oral health: a child that learns how to brush and floss well will never have to un-learn bad habits or re-learn good ones.

It’s much easier for people to learn healthy habits while still young. At that point, their brains are still developing, and their neural pathways for behavior can change and cement more than those of adults. Don’t be mistaken, however; adults can still learn and grow too! However, teaching a child how to behave can last a lifetime. The same applies to their oral hygiene habits.

free kindergarten dental checks up 2019

Our Children’s Dentists Offer Free Kindergarten Dental Checks for Children Entering School

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we want to ensure that your kids are taken care of. Between caring for their general well-being and helping them be prepared for school, oral health check-ups are crucial. If you want to help your kids the best you can, please feel free to give us a call at any of our locations. You can also ask us any questions you may have at our free kindergarten dental checks all summer.  Call to find out the dates for Free Kindergarten Dental exams.

You can call any of Nebraska Family Dentistry locations to set up a free kindergarten dental checks appointment with children’s dentists

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Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location a “dentist near me” convenient for you.

Biological Dentistry in Lincoln, NE

biological dentistry in lincoln ne blog banner

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, Kathryn Alderman is your local biological dentist serving patients at various locations in Lincoln, NE. Dr. Alderman is passionate about helping patients live healthier, happier lives and knows that having a healthy mouth can greatly impact a person’s overall well-being. Dr. Alderman will carefully review your medical history and help you treat your dental conditions using materials and techniques that will benefit your overall health. If you have concerns about older metal restorations that may require replacement or the safety of dental treatment for patients with specific medical conditions or dental anxiety, Dr. Alderman would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.

biological dentist dr kathryn alderman

Biological Dentistry:
What is a Biological Dentist?

Biological dentists are providers who understand that the health of the mouth can impact a person’s overall health. The goal of biological dentists is to treat dental problems while helping balance systemic health. One of the ways biological dentists do this is by ensuring that only the most biocompatible dental materials available are used and that any dental treatment performed helps reduce systemic inflammation in the body. Biological dentists know that introducing different materials like metals can have an impact on a person’s immune response. Some biological dentists recommend that patients undergo allergy testing to determine if they will react to certain dental materials before initiating dental treatment. Biological dentists rely on scientific-based evidence of the safety and efficacy of dental treatments before recommending them to patients.

young woman thinking of dental topic


Biological Dentistry:
What is the difference between a biological dentist and holistic dentist?

There are many emerging holistic or functional or biological medical providers.

There is a difference between them. The holistic provider often is not science oriented while biological is a  science and fact-based. Dr. Kathryn Alderman is a biological and not holistic dentist

dental filling option

Mercury Free Dentistry in Lincoln, NE

Amalgam is a dental material that has been used for many years in dentistry. The use of amalgam fillings in modern dentistry is slowly waning with the development of superior materials and the controversial subject of the threat amalgam fillings may pose to human health. It is estimated that about 50% of dentists in the U.S do not use mercury amalgam fillings, although only about 10% of them understand the health risks associated with amalgam. Amalgam fillings are typically comprised of an alloy of several metals including 50% mercury combined with smaller percentages of silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are often called silver fillings, but in reality, they are not pure silver. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and has been shown to cause various harmful effects to human health. Research suggests that during normal chewing and changes to the temperature in the mouth during eating and drinking may cause the mercury from the fillings to be released into the body, which can contribute to negative effects on systemic health and that a single amalgam filling can release up to 15 mcg of mercury per day into a person’s body. The average adult has up to eight fillings in their mouth, making the average daily exposure up to 120 mcg of mercury per day. For reference, scientists warn the general public not to eat an excess of mercury-containing seafood, which on average would expose someone to 2.3 mcg daily.  

mercury fact poster for Biological Dentistry

In addition to negative health effects, improper disposal of amalgam fillings also poses a risk to the environment. In our Lincoln, NE offices, during the removal of your amalgam fillings, we use amalgam separators to avoid introducing mercury into the city water supply.

Fortunately, this material is no longer being used by many dentists. We use a mercury-free composite material in our Lincoln, NE offices. It is a good idea to ask your dental provider what type of dental materials they use routinely and be aware of any failing amalgam restorations you may have that may need to be replaced in the future with an alternative material.

Mercury fact about fillings for Biological Dentistry

If you are considering removing old amalgam fillings, it is a good idea to consider seeing a biological dentist for this procedure. Most general dentists who practice conventional dentistry do not employ the same precautions during amalgam removal that biological dentists use. This can ultimately put your health at risk. Biological dentists know that harmful vapors that contain mercury are present during amalgam removal.

To minimize patient exposure during amalgam removal in our offices, patients are instructed not to breathe through their mouth, high-volume evacuators are placed as close to the tooth as possible, the tooth is isolated with a rubber dam, cold water is applied to avoid heating up the material during removal and a room air-purifier is used.

For patients who are concerned about metal toxicity from mercury exposure, it is possible to have urine testing to determine the levels present in the body. Talk to your doctor or dentist about your concerns.

Dr. Polley interacting with patient

Which Type of Dental Filling Material is the Safest?

Composite resin fillings, glass ionomer, zirconia, gold, and porcelain crowns are all biocompatible alternative dental materials to mercury amalgam fillings. In the past, some of the arguments for the continued use of amalgam was that composite fillings did not last as long as amalgams. Research has shown that amalgam fillings placed on molars have a much higher failure rate than composite fillings. Another reason for the controversy of the composite as a viable alternative to amalgam was that some of them contain BPA (bisphenol-A). You can read about the risks of BPA dental fillings here.

Fortunately, today there are many brands and materials available that do not contain BPA before or after curing. If you have questions or concerns about the type of materials that may be used in your treatment, speak with your dentist. If you suffer from allergies it is possible to have blood testing done that will identify a reaction to the ingredients in dental materials.

Do we use BPA Free Composites?

We have BPA free dental composites available at every Lincoln dental clinic of Nebraska Family Dentistry as a better alternative to BPA  containing dental fillings or mercury/silver dental fillings.

nickel free crown example

What about nickel free crowns? Do you use nickel free crowns? Do you have metal free crowns?

We use two types of nickel free at our office and Emax crown is metal free and nickel free type of a dental crown. Emax crown is a porcelain crown and is the most biocompatible, hypo-allergenic, non-metallic restorative material of which we are aware at this time.

Emax Crown Composition (in % by weight):

SiO2 57.0 – 80.0% Li2O 11.0 – 19.0% K2O 0.0 – 13.0% P2O5 0.0 – 11.0% ZrO2 0.0 – 8.0%ZnO 0.0 – 8.0% Al2O3 0.0 – 5.0% MgO 0.0% – 5.0 Colouring oxides 0.0 – 8.00

Full Zirconia Crown Composition:

Zirconium oxide (ZrO2) 86.0 – 93.5%, Yttrium oxide (Y2O3) > 6.5% – ≤ 8.0%, Hafnium oxide (HfO2) ≤ 5.0% Aluminium oxide (Al2O3) ≤ 1.0%,other oxides ≤ 1.0%

The final selection depends on each patient’s overall health, biting forces and occlusion.

How to minimize exposure of amalgam vapor at our office?

The most significant amount of exposure to Mercury from amalgam fillings is when they are placed and removed. Appropriate isolation and suction are also essential to help limit exposure to patients. Dr. Oz even suggests that if you have eight or more amalgam fillings, you should have them replaced. In response to his suggestion, I would say that removing eight fillings at once would create an abundance of exposure to Mercury.  Myself, I would tend to prefer addressing replacing a few amalgam fillings every few months, instead of removing them all at one time.

Steps for removing amalgam. The procedure for the safe removal of Mercury fillings includes the following actions:

  • Keeping the filling at a cooler temperature: Removal of amalgam fillings are done under a constant spray of cold water to keep the temperature low and reduce the release of mercury vapor.
  • Using a high-volume evacuation (HVE): The use of a high-volume evacuation system helps scavenge and collect Mercury vapors that are released. A suction tube does remain in the mouth during the procedure to ensure the removal of saliva and Mercury.
  • Using an Isolite: We use a non-latex Isolite to prevent swallowing or breathing of toxic Mercury.
  • Using an air filtration system: Our air filtration system allows all vapors to leave the office every 30-60 seconds.
catering dental team

Post-Procedure Treatment After Replacing Amalgam / Mercury Fillings

Once the amalgam filling is removed, we recommend proper nutrition. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating better will aid your immune system during the detoxification process.

Taking charcoal, Emergen-C, and eating cilantro have all been found to be helpful detoxification materials.

bright smiling young man

Should I have my Silver/ Amalgam / Mercury fillings replaced?

Having a good understanding of amalgam fillings along with seeing mounds of supporting research, we do recommend changing Silver fillings if you have any of those following conditions:

Considerations for removal of Amalgam / Mercury fillings:

  • Patients who have defective margins or recurrent decay around their dental amalgam fillings.
  • Patients who have more than eight amalgam dental fillings.
  • Patients who have exhibited a sensitivity or an allergy to dental amalgam (lymphocyte proliferation test).
  • Patients who grind their teeth (bruxism).
  • Patients who consume high quantities of carbonated beverages and acidic foods-this has been known to cause prolonged levels of higher exposure to mercury vapor from dental amalgam restorations.
  • Patients that have medical conditions that could be correlated with metal toxicity.

Are Root Canals Safe?

Root canal therapy is the last effort that can be made to save a tooth that has sustained trauma or become infected due to a crack or deep cavity. During a root canal, the dentist removes the infected or dead nerve of the tooth, disinfects the canal the nerve once occupied and fills the empty space with a special filling material. Not every case is the same, and not every root canal has the same long-term prognosis.

If the extent of infection is great, root canals can fail because the bacteria may not be completely removed and the tooth will become a source of chronic infection and inflammation in the body. This can lead to the spread of infection to other teeth or parts of the body if it is able to enter into the bloodstream.

It is important to have a dentist who is skilled at removing the bacteria and who chooses which teeth are eligible for root canals carefully. Most teeth that have the infection do not have a good long-term prognosis after root canal therapy due to the difficulty of complete removal of the bacteria during traditional root canal therapy.

root canal progression

How a tooth is determined to be a viable candidate for root canal therapy depends upon the reason for the inflammation of the nerve. Teeth that have been fractured, cracked or have a newly placed filling can lead to nerve inflammation in the tooth. This type of inflammation is acute and can be resolved by performing a root canal.

If a tooth has a large abscess that is draining infectious fluid and has been chronically infected and shows signs of bone loss, performing a root canal will not completely eradicate the bacteria from this infection. After the root canal, the tooth will continue to harbor some of the bacteria from the tooth infection, becoming a chronic source of infection in the body.

Some patients have strong immune systems and can tolerate a low-grade chronic infection for a period of time, but patients who have autoimmune conditions or other inflammatory conditions are at a higher risk of experiencing a second infection after the root canal is completed. In this situation, the best option is to remove the tooth which is the source of infection, allow the bone to heal and replace the tooth with a dental implant.

What are my options for replacing a missing tooth if I do not want a root canal or an implant?

You could replace it with a dental bridge or a partial removable denture

smiling beauiful woman looking up

Are Titanium implants safe for your overall health?

Due to the high success rates and relatively low risk of allergy or complications, titanium has been the primary material used for implant posts. Titanium has and still does have a very high biocompatibility rating as well as great results in osseointegration after implant placement. Unfortunately for some patients, titanium is not an option due to metal sensitivity or allergies. For those who have metal allergies, it is advisable to have MELISA testing prior to surgery to be sure they do not have an allergy to titanium. MELISA testing (Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay) is a type of test that uses a blood sample to test for various allergies, including a titanium allergy. It is not a common allergy, with about 4% of subjects tested having positive results. For those who have a titanium allergy, the particles that are released during corrosion of the metal cause the body’s immune system to attack. This can contribute to a cascade effect on the rest of the body. The MELISA test is scientifically proven and can diagnose a titanium allergy as well as the severity of the allergic response.

It is important to note that for the vast majority of patients, titanium dental implants are a viable option. For those few who have metal allergies, there are alternative options available, such as all porcelain implants but not Zirconia implants as they do have a trace of metals in their composition

Biological dentist in lincoln ne

CAQs to our Lincoln, NE Biological Dentist.

What is Biological Dentistry? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

The study of how our mouth is the gateway to the body and understand teeth affect overall well being of patients and has an effect on the overall health of the patient

Do you have a list of ingredients that are in the composite material?

We do have the SDS sheets for every product that we use in our office. They are available online for patients.

Are root canals safe for my health? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

Everybody is different and has different needs. There are many factors involved when deciding on the best treatment option for a patient. if the patient is immune-compromised and the tooth has an active infection we recommend removing the tooth.  if the tooth has chronic inflammation and the patient is in good health, the patient could be a candidate for root canal treatment.

Is there BPA in composite? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

Yes, but we do offer BPA free composite.

Are titanium implants safe if I’m allergic to metal? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

Your other option is a porcelain implant.

How do you safely remove the amalgam in my teeth to keep me safe?  Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

We used an altered SMART system of removing metal fillings. We use an Isolite which is a newer, better version of a dental dam and keeps you from swallowing or inhaling mercury vapors. We also have a state-of-the-art air filtration system that removes mercury vapors and provides the office with a completely new air supply every 30-60 seconds. We also break that filling up into small pieces so as to preserve your healthy tooth structure and make it easier to take out of your mouth safely with an amalgam separator.

Do you offer nutritional support? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

We can absolutely talk through your nutritional concerns and go over some healthier options and steps you can take to become a healthier you. However, we would refer you on to a nutritionist or dietitian if you are looking for intensive nutritional support. We would be happy to go over any testing results with you.

What steps do you use for removing amalgam safely? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

We keep the filling at a cooler temperature with a constant spray of water to reduce the release of mercury vapor. We cut the amalgam into smaller more manageable pieces that can more easily be removed. We have a high-volume evacuation system that helps collect mercury vapors that are released along with a suction tube that stays in the mouth to help with saliva and mercury. We use a non-latex Isolite to prevent swallowing or inhaling of vapors along with our new air filtration system that allows all vapors to leave the office completely every 30-60 seconds.

Do I need to replace my mercury fillings?  Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

We do recommend replacing mercury fillings with tooth-colored composite for many reasons, the number one reason being the multiple health benefits of replacing them.

The final decision depends on the condition of your current filling and your overall health. For patients with overall health problems, especially with autoimmune disorders, their immune system is already challenged daily, so mercury fillings may be just an additional factor putting unnecessary stress on overall health. If the filling is cracked or starting to break down you may want to consider a replacement. You can always choose to have the fillings replaced regardless of their condition to a stronger, healthier, and better looking composite material.

When my children come to the office I do not want them to have any Fluoride. Is that ok with your office?

The decision is ultimately up to you.

If I need a tooth extracted, what would be my replacement options if I don’t want metal? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…

We could do a dental bridge or biocompatible partial. If you would like an implant, both Titanium and Zirconia are great bio-compatible replacement options. We typically would suggest the Zirconia option if you are worried about the metal content or allergies.

How do you treat infected teeth without a root canal?

Removal of the tooth could be necessary.

Do you use metal instruments?

Yes, Our instruments are coated in stainless steel.

Do you take out root canals?

Yes, We also work with an oral surgeon for complicated cases to assure the best experience for your tooth extraction.

Dr Kathryn nfd lincoln ne

Dr. Kathryn Alderman

This blog is written by Dr.Kathryn Alderman,  your Biological dentist practicing in Lincoln, NE.

You can schedule 24/7 using online with Dr. Kathryn Alderman by visiting Nebraska Family Dentistry.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.

Should I have My Mercury Fillings Replaced?

dr.k alderman on amalgam filling
Image asking "Amalgam fillings/Mercury fillings, what's all the fuss?

Dr. Alderman, your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE on Amalgam Fillings: Should Amalgam (Silver) Fillings be replaced?

As a Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE who has been practicing dentistry for years, I will share my thoughts on Mercury fillings through this blog.


The Composition of Mercury Fillings explained by Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE

Mercury makes up about 50% of the most common fillings in the world called Silver-Mercury amalgam fillings. This amalgam material also contains other metals such as Zinc, Copper, Tin, and Silver. Because of the high Mercury content, these fillings are Silver in color when they are first placed. Hence the name, “Silver” filling. After being in the mouth for a bit of time, it is at that point that the Mercury starts reacting chemically resulting in black corrosion. The darker the filling, all the more tarnish that has taken place. These fillings do have an electrical current that can be measured. The current and release of Mercury are directly proportional. Therefore, the higher the current means, the faster that Mercury is being released. Dating back to 1976, ADA sponsored high Copper amalgam started taking over the market and is now a patent holder. Mercury is released around 50 times faster than the “conventional” amalgam before that time.

As of today, by weight, dental amalgam fillings contain between 48 to 51% Mercury. Copper comes in a close second and is now leading the markets.  Amalgam can be composed of up to 24 to 33% Copper. The higher the amount of Copper, the faster both Copper and Mercury are released from the fillings. A Gold crown anywhere in the mouth can also increase the rate of release of Mercury.

Image from biological dentist in Lincoln, NE showing a tooth with mercury fillings Lincoln, NE

Is it possible for Mercury to leak from Amalgam (Silver) Fillings? Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

YES! It is undeniably true that Mercury vapor and byproducts are released from amalgam fillings. Scientists do agree that any Mercury absorbed in high enough amounts, will cause health issues. It is known that Mercury vapors are released from amalgam fillings. But the agreement is that the amount is far enough below what is accepted by the FDA-a daily intake of .4 micro-grams per kilogram of body weight. It is still somewhat unclear, however, as to how much Mercury would have to be absorbed to cause any problems.

Dr. Chew has found in some university studies that within the first two years following placement, amalgam fillings release roughly 34 micro-grams per filling per square centimeter of exposed filling, each day. Daily tests were conducted on fillings placed in pure water. Many contributing factors can cause Mercury to be released faster. As previously mentioned, any other metals such as Nickel crowns, Gold crowns, and or removable bridges will increase the rate of release. Chewing food also increases the rate of release dramatically. Hot liquids, such as coffee can also increase emission by thousands of percent. This however, will last on average, roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Likewise, as published by the ADA, abrasion that comes from chewing gum also increases the release by 1500%. Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding either during waking or sleeping hours, also increases the release of Mercury vapor. It is the electrical charge on a filling that gives us an idea as to how fast Copper, Mercury, and other metals are released. As previously stated, the higher the current measured, the quicker the release of Mercury is taking place. The total amount of Mercury released can be challenging to measure. There is, however, enough information to say that the current measurements are enough to contribute significantly to many disease processes. For example, the mouth is a perfect habitat. Inside the mouth it’s warm and encounters acidic foods, chewing gum, bruxism, eating food, and multiple bacterial strains.

image from Biological dentist in Lincoln, NE showing mercury vapor being released from a tooth after being rubbed by an eraser.


Mercury Fillings and Toxicity

Where does all the Mercury go? Find out from Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE

The short answer is, into your body. The areas inside your cheeks and under your tongue provide the fastest route of absorption. Of course, these areas are near any fillings, so the rate at which these materials can be absorbed is great. Through these tissues, Mercury can destroy adjacent tissues. Mercury can also travel to the lymphatic drainage system and directly into the bloodstream. From the blood, Mercury can go to any cell within the body. It can either disable or destroy the tissue. Mercury can also easily travel directly from the fillings into the lungs, and even the bloodstream-every cell can be a target. All of the compounds included in Mercury are masters at moving through cell membranes that are “lipid soluble.” Cell membranes are made up of roughly 40% fat and 60% protein. Nerve cells, however, are an exception. Nerve cells contain nearly 75% fat. These membranes that are rich in fat ultimately determine what can and can not enter the cell. Methyl Mercury is oxidized and is made into the “ionic” form of Mercury. The ionic form of Mercury is a very destructive and harmful form of Mercury. Methyl Mercury happens to be the most dangerous because of its ability to enter all cells and travel great distances. Ultimately, the ionic form disrupts metabolic pathways and internal structures that keep a cell alive. All of this destruction and travel defines Mercury contamination or toxicity. It may favor nerve tissue as a destruction target, but the kidneys are high up on its list of tissues to destroy. Unfortunately, Mercury toxicity can cause significant problems in any tissue that gets in its way. For this very reason, it can be tough to devise a change in the normal state and chemistry of the body.

What health problems are related to the exposure of toxins such as those in Mercury fillings? Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Diseases and Symptoms Related to Chronic, Long-Term Mercury Poisoning:

Mercury is not a radioactive material but rather a poisonous metal that can affect anyone’s health in a very aggressive manner. There is also good evidence that Mercury can in some ways, contribute to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Mercury intoxication can greatly affect many areas of the body. The nervous system can be significantly impacted in addition to causing the following:

  • Psychological complications: Insomnia, irritability, loss of memory, and ataxia.
  • Gastrointestinal complications: Colitis and diarrhea.
  • Cardiovascular complications: Tachycardia, high/low blood pressure, irregular pulse, and pains in chest.
  • Neurological complications : Regular headaches, dizziness, movement disorders.
  • Respiratory complications: Bronchitis, shallow breathing, and asthma.
  • Weak immune system: More susceptible to becoming ill as the body’s line of natural defense has been compromised.

Clinical facts about Mercury fillings and disadvantages to using it as a material for a dental filling explained by Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE:

As your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE, I know that mercury should be avoided if at all possible. Mercury “Silver” fillings are a combination of Mercury, Silver, Copper, Tin, and other trace metals. Together all of these metals are combined to form an alloy. Our bodies have NO need or use for Mercury. The less Mercury we have in our system, the better.

There is extraordinary evidence showing the release of Mercury in the form of vapor. This happens every time you stimulate the teeth. Examples may be drinking, eating, and brushing your teeth. Mercury vapors can easily pass through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier, and ultimately into your CNS (central nervous system). Once in the central nervous system, this is where psychological,  immunological, and neurological problems can occur. Children, including fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but anyone can be affected.

  • To place an amalgam filling requires that more of the tooth structure is removed. This is not the case with tooth-colored restorations that are currently being offered.  Because amalgams don’t bond to teeth, dentists have to place an undercut in a tooth to help keep it in place-this significantly undermines and weaken the tooth and can eventually lead to cracked teeth later on.
  • Since amalgam fillings don’t bond directly to the tooth structure, over time space is created between the filling and tooth structure allowing bacteria to get enter. Once bacteria have entered, a cavity can develop underneath the filling.
  • Amalgam fillings also contract and expand over time, working as a wedge inside the tooth and weakening the tooth over time. Additionally, this can lead to cracked teeth.  Teeth with large amalgam fillings are prone to Cracked Tooth Syndrome and most commonly are seen on your back teeth.
image of old silver mercury fillings with holes taken by your biological dentist in Lincoln, NE

What is a safer alternative at our office?

While in our care, your safety and comfort are always our number one priority. As a result, the use of Mercury in fillings is not done in our office. Our offices use only porcelain, ceramic, or composite restorations that are stronger and better looking. Also, these restorations are environmentally friendly while being placed due to decay, fracture or ill-fitting restorations.

Composite Benefits:

Composite restorations such as this one (middle tooth) are superior to Silver fillings. This type of restoration reinforces the tooth with a strong bond and has undetectable, smooth margins to help prevent leakage and recurrent decay.

Before and After
Pictures of replacing old Mercury Fillings

A before image from Nebraska Family Dentistry of Silver/ Mercury fillings before being replaced with tooth colored fillings
Mercury Fillings: Before White Filling Replacement
Example of tooth-colored, white fillings from your biological dentist in Lincoln, NE at Nebraska Family Dentistry
White Filling: After Mercury fillings Replacement

Composite restorations offer many advantages including:

  1. Cosmetic and aesthetic Blends in seamlessly and naturally.
  2. Smooth and bonded margins – Less plaque accumulation helping offset the chances for recurrent decay.
  3. Conservative – Less tooth structure is removed to make space for the new filling.
  4. Easily repaired – Any chips can easily be corrected with surface roughening and addition of composite material.
  5. Reinforces remaining tooth structure – Because the composite is bonded to the tooth itself, it significantly strengthens the remaining structure and helps prevent wedging forces from causing cracks and fractures with repeated chewing.
  6. Seals the dentin portion of the tooth from future decay

How is the exposure of amalgam minimized at our office for the benefit of the environment?

Our office has taken steps to help reduce your exposure to Mercury vapor during the removal process of old amalgam fillings. We can remove 99.5% of the total Mercury from the wastewater at our dental office, thus protecting the environment and the local community.

How to minimize exposure of amalgam at our office for your safety?

The most significant amount of exposure to Mercury from amalgam fillings is when they are placed and removed. Appropriate isolation and suction are also essential to help limit exposure to patients. Dr. Oz even suggests that if you have eight or more amalgam fillings, you should have them replaced. In response to his suggestion, I would say that removing eight fillings at once would create an abundance of exposure to Mercury.  Myself, I would tend to prefer addressing replacing a few amalgam fillings every few months, instead of removing them all at one time.

Steps for removing amalgam. The procedure for safe removal of Mercury fillings includes the following actions:

  1. Keeping the filling at a cooler temperature: Removal of amalgam fillings are done under a constant spray of cold water to keep the temperature low and reduce the release of Mercury vapor.
  2. Cutting the filling into smaller more manageable chunks: The removal procedure involves cutting the filling into smaller pieces that can be easily removed.
  3. Using a high-volume evacuation (HVE): The use of a high-volume evacuation system helps scavenge and collect Mercury vapors that are released. A suction tube does remain in the mouth during the procedure to ensure the removal of saliva and Mercury.
  4. Using an Isolite: We use a non-latex Isolite to prevent swallowing or breathing of toxic Mercury.
  5. Using an air filtration system: Our air filtration system allows all vapors to leave the office every 30-60 seconds.

Post-Procedure Treatment After Replacing Amalgam / Mercury Fillings Explained By Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE:

  • Once the amalgam filling is removed, we recommend proper nutrition. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating better will aid your immune system during the detoxification process.
  • Taking charcoal, Emergen-C, and eating cilantro have all been found to be helpful detoxification materials.

Should I have my Silver Amalgam / Mercury Fillings Replaced? Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE Explains…

Having a good understanding of amalgam fillings along with seeing mounds of supporting research, we do recommend changing Silver fillings if you have any of those following conditions:

Considerations For The Removal of Amalgam / Mercury fillings Explained by Your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE:

  • Patients who have defective margins or recurrent decay around their dental amalgam fillings.
  • Patients who have more than eight amalgam dental fillings.
  • Patients who have exhibited a sensitivity or an allergy to dental amalgam (lymphocyte proliferation test).
  • Patients who grind their teeth (bruxism).
  • Patients who consume high quantities of carbonated beverages and acidic foods-this has been known to cause prolonged levels of higher exposure to Mercury vapor from dental amalgam restorations.
  • Patients that have medical conditions that could be correlated with metal toxicity.

Dr. Oz on Mercury fillings…

Dr. Oz’s guests have discussed the reasons why you might be at higher risk and how to prevent toxicity. The belief is that grinding of the teeth combined with high acid levels (from coffee, soda, vinegar, oranges) elicit more Mercury vapor.  They suggest drinking soda and coffee with a straw. They also recommend incorporating garlic, cilantro, and Chlorella (a freshwater algae supplement) in your diet because they all help to bind and draw out Mercury from the body. They too suggest removing amalgams if you have eight or more, if you grind your teeth, or if there is a sign of decay or corrosion.

Mercury fillings video by Dr. Oz: Smoking Teeth – Toxic Gas

This video powerfully demonstrates that for anyone who has amalgam fillings, every time you eat, chew, drink hot coffee or visit the dentist Mercury vapors are released into your oral cavity. The oral cavity is where Mercury can be absorbed and enter your bloodstream. These poisonous vapors are odorless, tasteless, and colorless, so you won’t be able to tell that they’re there. A single dental amalgam filling could release as much as 15 micrograms of Mercury each day. The average individual has roughly eight amalgam fillings and could potentially absorb up to 120 micrograms of Mercury per day. In contrast, eating Mercury-tainted seafood would expose you to about 2.3 micrograms per day — and that alone was enough for experts to make a global warning dating back to 2006.

Additional Videos by Dr. OZ on Mercury fillings

Dr. Curatola, Founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, Explains Dangers of Mercury Fillings Part 1
Dr. Curatola, Founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, Explains Dangers of Mercury Fillings Part 2
Dr. Curatola, Founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, Explains Dangers of Mercury Fillings Part 3

This blog was written by Dr. Kathryn Alderman, your Biological Dentist in Lincoln, NE. You can schedule an appointment online 24/7 with Dr. Kathryn Alderman at her East Dental Clinic Location of Nebraska Family Dentistry.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.

Removable Partial Dentures

When multiple missing teeth need to be replaced, there are several options available for patients. For some patients, dental implants or fixed bridgework is not an option due to cost. Partial dentures offer patients a very cost-effective way to replace multiple missing teeth with a single prosthetic device. A partial denture can replace one or more teeth, unlike a full denture, which replaces all of the teeth in an arch. Partial dentures are a removable prosthetic device which is retained by clasping onto supporting teeth in the arch. In the areas where teeth are missing, the gum and bone ridge support an acrylic material.

Partial dentures can give patients some function and improve the aesthetics of their smiles at a much lower cost than implants or bridgework, making them a good choice for some patients.

happy wellness woman

It is important to note that when teeth are removed, a natural resorption of the bone in the sites where the teeth were extracted occurs over time. The only way to prevent this resorption is by placing dental implants. It is important to consider the types of partial dentures that are available and how many teeth are missing and the location of the missing teeth to determine which option is most ideal for you. Partials must be designed with certain factors in mind, for example, taking note of the number and distribution of existing natural teeth in the arch to help equalize the distribution of forces and minimize any rocking to occur when chewing. This type of pressure on the bony ridge can accelerate the natural bone resorption process. Partials should also be designed in a way that minimizes the pressure inflicted on the supporting teeth to help maintain them longer.

There are a few different types of partial dentures available. Your dentist will help you design a partial that will best serve your needs.

One tooth partial Picture one partial dentures

Removable Partial Dentures Option #1
Flipper

For a patient who is only missing one tooth, a flipper is an option. It is made of an acrylic material. Flippers can be a permanent or temporary solution to a single missing tooth. These can be made in one day at our dental lab in Lincoln. Often patients who are in the healing phase of implant treatment use a flipper until the implant can be restored.

removable partial dentures

Removable Partial Dentures Option #2
Removable Partial Denture with Metal Framework

This type of partial is created using a metal framework with strong metal clasps. If the supporting teeth are healthy and have adequate bone support, this type of partial can provide very stable chewing function. Sometimes the metal clasps are visible on this type of partial, depending on which teeth are missing in the jaw. If patients have an unequal distribution of remaining teeth, it is possible that this type of partial can increase the forces placed on the supporting teeth, which can reduce the longevity of those teeth.

flexible partial partial dentures

Removable Partial Dentures Option #3
Removable Partial With Flexible Nylon Framework


This is a newer option for partial dentures. Instead of metal framework, it is made of a nylon material which is more flexible. This material is quite strong, and the framework is thicker than that of those with metal framework. Patients who have had a metal-framework partial in the past and then switch to a partial with nylon framework often tell us that the partial is more comfortable. There are no metal clasps, making these less noticeable than the metal framework partials.

Removable Partial Dentures Option #4
All Plastic Without Internal Framework

This type of partial is completely made up of plastic. It has a few clips to help stabilize it, but the rest of the partial is acrylic. If this prosthetic is used for chewing against natural teeth, it will eventually break. The areas where the partial fits between teeth are very narrow, which makes this type of partial quite fragile. If patients are using this type of partial and chewing against an acrylic denture, it will last longer. This type of denture is typically much less expensive, so if it is mostly intended for aesthetic and not chewing function, it may be a good option for you.

If you are missing several teeth and would like to discuss which option is best for you, call our office and schedule a consultation. Our dentists will go through each option with you and help design a partial to fit your needs.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.