Preventing Infectious Disease and Comforting Kids

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How can we help kids avoid anxiety after hearing about the spread of an infectious disease?

Kids listen to adults, the TV, and the radio, all who talk about the worries and concerns of contagious diseases.

There are ads for flu shots and cold remedies, nightly media coverage about rampant epidemics all over the world, and pundits predicting whether these contagious diseases could overtake this country.

children togetherness avoiding infectious disease

How is this affecting our children? Are they asking questions? Are they curious about where these germs may be lurking, and whether they or their families are in any danger? The answer is likely going to be yes. It is also likely that your child might be experiencing some form of anxiety due to all of the uncertainty surrounding this new virus, and you are likely wondering how you can help them. So, we have a few tips.

The bottom line is that kids are kids, and the stories surrounding the Novel (new) Coronavirus could be reasonably extravagant. It’s also likely not helping seeing others in the community wearing masks, which is almost always a guaranteed question. But, there are simple, practical ways that you can help your child.

mother comforting child over infectious disease
  • ListenMake time to sit down and visit with your child. Doing this will help you understand just how much they know. Listening will also give you time to answer questions that they might have and provide them with the facts.

  • Be a good role model: Remain CalmBe certain of your facts and always be sure to correct misinformation. Share facts from sources such as the CDC or the World Health Organization. Let your child know that there are sick people all over the world and they can help their family and themselves stay safe by washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Also, explaining that very few kids are sick is crucial as it can help reiterate the importance of handwashing.

  • Let your child know that their anxiety doesn’t need to control themBe sure to empathize with your child. If your child seems to be continuously seeking reassurance from you (especially regarding the Coronavirus), teach them healthy coping skills. Instead, ask your child questions. Doing this might help challenge their minds enough so that they can refocus their energy. Once they become comfortable and have developed the skills to answer their own questions, they won’t need to ask you for reassurance and this can help lessen their anxiety because they will feel more “in control.”

The Glo Germ kit demonstrates the importance of proper handwashing. This kit is used by having students rub Glo Germ lotion on their hands, which simulates the spread of germs in the form of thousands of tiny plastic fluorescent dots. Next, each student was asked to wash their hands as they usually would. Once their hands were washed, a fluorescent ultraviolet lamp was used to “spot” any remaining “germs.” Under the light, the plastic “germs” fluoresce or glow brightly, so that the student may easily see them.

glo germ kit for infectious disease

It’s often hard for kids to grasp the importance of clean hands. But why? Often because tiny bacteria and viruses found on hands can’t be seen with the naked eye. This Glo Germ Kit, however, demonstrates where harmful germs and bacteria can be found, and it also shows just how easily the “bad stuff” can go away, when they wash their hands properly.

hand glow glo germ on infectious disease

Overall, the science fair went well, and the kids were excited about using the special powder, lotion, and seeing their hands shine under the UV light. With this kit, the kids were able to demonstrate that washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is all that is needed to wash off harmful bacteria and germs. They also demonstrated that washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds was better than using sanitizer. However, if water and soap are not available, sanitizer is better than using nothing at all.

In short, doing this science fair project helped them understand that hands carry tons of germs that can’t be seen (as demonstrated in the picture below of our Science fair poster). As the world faces growing concerns of a new virus and we continue to learn the facts, it is critical that everyone does their part and makes time for handwashing. Handwashing is simply one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. As a dentist, the importance of washing hands is something we do at all times. 

video time on infectious disease awareness tips with kids

Before we go, we’ve shared with you some short, fun videos for you and your kiddos to watch while you’re doing your part at home and keeping the spread of germs to a minimum.

  1. Here’s a fun and interactive lesson on just how effective soap is when it comes to keeping germs away: watch it here and try it out!

  2. See what Hamilton Health can show you about just how effective proper hand washing is when it’s done for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

  3. Finally, see how germs spread. Watch this video from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.

We hope our information is useful and remember, be sure to wash your hands with soap AND water for at least 20 seconds AND avoid touching your face.

high infection control

We take infection control very seriously at all Nebraska Family Dentistry locations.

Click here to view our high standards of infection control at Nebraska Family Dentistry.

6 Tips on How to Find an Affordable Dentist

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How To Find An Affordable Dentist?

You can find an affordable dentist or possibly even find a dentist who can provide services at no cost to you when you check with your local and state resources. They will likely know of programs within your area that offer reduced-cost or free dental care. They can provide guidance regarding available financial assistance programs.

how to find an affordable dentist piggy bank

An Affordable Dentist Is Closer Than You Think!

Six ways to improve your oral health without going broke if you have not seen a dentist for an extended period because of the cost.

Americans aren’t going to the dentist, and the reasons are far more profound than just not liking the drills. According to the Kaiser study, one-third of Americans had not seen a dentist within the previous year, and two out of five said they skip routine visits due to cost or that that they couldn’t find an affordable dentist (according to a 2014 Harris poll for the American Dental Association).

The need for dental care is out there, and sadly, many Americans can’t cover the cost even if they find an affordable dentist, or a dentist who has competitive pricing. Prices for procedures can vary widely depending upon where you live. A basic adult dental cleaning averages just $95 in Des Moines, Iowa versus $205 in New York City, according to the Fair Health cost lookup site, which estimates dental prices based on your zip code. Nationwide, a dental filling can cost anywhere from $145 to $205. According to a 2018 survey of 1,688 dentists conducted by the American Dental Association, root canals can range anywhere from $765 to $1075.

national association of dental plans logo

According to data obtained from the National Association of Dental Plans, even if you have dental insurance, you’re more than likely still paying $168 to $384 annually in premiums. In addition to the annual premium for coverage, there is generally a yearly dollar amount the insurance company will payout. This number is typically capped somewhere between $1000 to $2000. After that, you’re left to cover the rest.

coddington dental member of the ada

Unfortunately, it’s a grim financial landscape, and you shouldn’t ever have to choose between keeping your teeth and mouth healthy or saving your bank account. In the bigger scheme of things, oral health is very closely connected to overall wellness. Dr. David Preble, Senior Vice President of the Practice Institute at the American Dental Association, states that “as long as you have more regular dental care, you end up with less dental disease, and better oral health, which will contribute to better overall health.”

Do keep in mind that an affordable dentist is closer than you might think. Whether you live in New York City, or Lincoln, NE, an affordable dentist is likely only a phone call or click away. And even though you might think an affordable dentist offers lackluster care, Nebraska Family Dentistry has several top-notch dentists all who provide outstanding dental care. 

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6 Tips on How to Find an Affordable Dentist

To find an affordable dentist, or to find out how to get the dental care you can afford, consider these six tips:

dental insurance options of Nebraska Family Dentistry for an Affordable Dentist

Tip 1 – Max out free care with insurance

Dental coverage is often offered in addition to healthcare insurance if you work for a company that provides benefits. But that doesn’t mean you can go to any dentist and expect the entire bill to be covered. Before making an appointment, call the dentist’s office and ask if they participate in your dental network, then double-check with your insurance provider. Not doing research about your dental benefits before your visit can turn an affordable dentist into an expensive dentist. Unfortunately, when this happens people tend to forego necessary treatment because of the cost.

Two cleanings per year, or biannual cleanings, are generally covered. Having two covered cleanings per year means that a routine cleaning could potentially be done at no extra charge, or with a minimal copay. However, if you need a more expensive procedure, there is a chance you might bump up against your plan’s maximum, and you will be left to pay the difference out of pocket. Don’t be discouraged; however, if you have a flexible spending account, or a health savings account, you can pay any balance using pretax dollars. Never agree to a procedure until you fully understand your payment responsibilities. In short, getting a breakdown of the costs you will be required to pay can avoid any surprise bills. 

discount plans example at Nebraska Family Dentistry for an Affordable Dentist

Tip 2 – Do the math on discount plans

Some dentists aim to lower costs for their patients by offering membership plans, which comes with an affordable one-time annual fee in exchange for discounts of 10 to 60 percent. Discounts can be on services such as cleanings, x-rays, root canals, crowns, fillings, and teeth whitening.

LFD state of nebraska approved three

Lincoln Dental Plans is a dental discount plan that has so much to offer. One low annual fee has you covered for an entire year.

Membership Coverage Includes:

Dental X-rays100%
Comprehensive Exam100%
2 Emergency Exams100%
2 Routine Dental Cleanings (Every 12 Months)100%
Discounts on Select Procedures25%

Added Benefits of an Affordable Dentist

Other added benefits that your affordable dentist, who partners with Lincoln Dental Plans, wants you to consider when comparing coverage to standard dental insurance:

Dental InsuranceDental Discount PlanLincoln Dental Plans
Yearly maximum limit paid for treatmentYesNo
100% guarantee on treatment costsNoYes
Limitations or procedure denialsYesNo
Waiting periodYesNo
A “missing tooth” clauseYesNo
Timely processingYesNo
Yearly feeYesYes
cavity b nebraska lincoln ne

Tip 3 – Fix cavities

Most cavities do not hurt and are a silent disease. All cavities keep growing, and when the cavity reaches the pulp, the tooth may end up needing a root canal or even extraction. Fixing a cavity ranges from $110-$275 depending on its size. The cost of a root canal or replacing a tooth ranges from $500 to $4,500. Replacement options such as a dental implant or a dental bridge or even a partial denture cost a lot more than fixing a cavity. Fixing cavities is a way to keep dentistry affordable. 

Bright smile of patient with periodontal disease in current remission

Tip 4 – Periodontal disease and keeping it under control and in remission

About 60% of Americans have Periodontal gum disease, and this is a disease that can go through the stages of being Active and Inactive. To keep it inactive and in remission, it is essential to continue flossing and brushing at home daily. Be sure to come in regularly to see a dental hygienist, so that they can remove the build-up below the gum line, which is impossible to remove without the proper tools. Keeping your oral health in excellent shape will make each visit to your already affordable dentist seem even better. With good oral health, you won’t have the need for expensive dental treatment!

patient practicing good oral hygiene by brushing teeth to keep an Affordable Dentist possible

Tip 5 – Keeping your gums and teeth healthy at home

Oral health and overall health are connected. Patients that live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle tend to have lower risks of developing dental disease. Most dental disease is preventable, and you can control the development of the disease by daily flossing and brushing plus following any of the tips for the overall health:

  • Eating plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish and flaxseed.
  • Eating high-fiber diets rich in fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods.
  • Lowering their sugar intake and avoid drinking soda and energy drinks.
  • Taking vitamin D regularly.
  • Taking probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial probiotics.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Getting adequate sleep: 7-8 hours every night.
Applying for dental payment plans for an Affordable Dentist

Tip 6 – Apply for payment plans with no fees or interest

When it comes to being able to afford the treatment you deserve, believe it or not, there are options. One of those options is CareCredit, which can offer you up to 12 months at 0% interest. CareCredit allows you to pay for medical expenses that are not covered by your insurance. Or, if you don’t have insurance, this will also let you get the treatment you need without having to pay fees and or interest. Want to learn more about CareCredit? Find out how it works, here.

CareCredit applications can be filled out online before you ever go in for your visit. What’s even better is that CareCredit isn’t just a one time use for yourself. CareCredit can also be used for other family members at local businesses like your veterinary office. Yes, that’s right; your four-legged fur child is covered, too! Other places that accept CareCredit are some chiropractic offices, primary doctor’s offices, or even home medical supply stores. CareCredit can give you peace of mind after you complete their short application, which you can be done online here in the convenience and privacy of your home.

Not every affordable dentist offers great advice. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, however, one of our many affordable dentists will always offer great tips for improving your smile, in addition to great options for making your treatment cost(s) reasonable.

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An Affordable Dentist at Nebraska Family Dentistry Has You Covered

Here at Nebraska Family Dentistry, our dentists want to make sure getting the dental care you deserve doesn’t break the bank. Our prices are comparable and competitive with other local Lincoln dental clinics. That makes seeing an affordable dentist at Nebraska Family Dentistry, possible and easy!

Your dental health is our priority, and to show you how serious we are, one benefit we always offer is a handful of great payment options. When our dentists discuss a treatment plan with you, they keep your budget in mind. Offering payment options, with no interest, for whichever form of treatment you choose, is one way we can help make sure you get the dental treatment you deserve.

We know that when making any decision, the top choice, whether you’re buying a car or new dentures, always comes at a higher cost, and that doesn’t work for everyone. We respect that, and that’s precisely why we will always discuss a few fantastic options. Giving you options, and allowing you to choose the treatment that meets your needs, will help eliminate the feeling of being trapped by a huge financial burden. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, an affordable dentist, doesn’t mean you will sacrifice quality of care. Our dentists are about your dental health, while respecting your financial situation, whatever it may be.

Young patient relieved for new Affordable Dentist

Don’t Give Up; It is Possible to Find An Affordable Dentist

While there is much to consider when making any decision about your health, consider all the options. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be afraid to shop around, so that you can locate an affordable dentist. Find a dentist that you feel comfortable seeing and trust. Ultimately, it might be a lot easier for you to justify the cost of seeing a dentist (or any medical professional) if you think they’ll benefit you, and ultimately, your health. Whether it’s preventative treatment or critical treatment, we all have other ways we’d prefer to spend our hard-earned dollars. Preventative treatment, however, is what often prevents critical treatment that generally comes with a hefty price tag. Practice good oral hygiene at home, and be sure to incorporate seeing your dentist regularly to ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy. The result will be a smile that lasts forever, and that’s something you can’t put a price tag on.

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.

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.