Archive for May 2017

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

May 31, 2017 | Posted Education

Commonly used to fill cavities is a material called dental amalgam. Cavities filled with amalgam are also known as silver fillings. Amalgam fillings contain mercury, which raises some concerns, but should you really be worried?
 
Amalgam is a combination of metals including silver, tin, mercury, and copper. Small amounts of other metals may also be included. Nowadays, new tooth coloured materials are usually used to fill cavities. At the Rideau Dental Centre, we monitor the condition of existing amalgam fillings and if it is deemed that they are fractured or leaking, we opt to remove and replace them with alternative materials.
 
Many studies have been done about the effects of mercury in amalgam fillings, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came to the conclusion that there was no need to limit the use of amalgam fillings, and that they are safe for people ages six and above. Like most substances, the danger posed by mercury to the body is proportional to the amount. At low, natural levels, there is no danger. Studies have shown that the amount of mercury the body is exposed to due to the slow breakdown of amalgam fillings is less than the amount that people are exposed to in their normal food and drink.
 
At the Rideau Dental Centre, we have not used amalgam in over 20 years due to advancements in technology. If you have any questions about amalgam fillings or any other dental topics, feel free to contact us by calling 613-230-7475.
 

Saliva is needed to moisten and cleanse the mouth, and to digest food. It also controls bacteria in the mouth, which helps prevent infection. When saliva production is too low, the mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Dry mouth has a number of different possible causes, including the following:
 

  • As a side effect - Dry mouth is a common side effect to many nonprescription and prescription drugs, including allergy, cold, pain, diarrhea and acne medications.  Dry mouth can also be a side effect to diabetes, cystic fibrosis, anemia, hypertension, stroke, and mumps.

  • Dehydration - Not drinking enough water, or having a condition that dehydrates the body such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea can cause dry mouth.

  • Tobacco - Smoking or chewing tobacco can lower the amount of saliva that your mouth produces.

 
It is often easy to tell if you have dry mouth, typical symptoms include a dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, difficulty tasting, and bad breath. Along with those symptoms, dry mouth increases one's risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infections.
 
If your dry mouth is caused by a certain medication, speak to your doctor, as there may be an alternative that will not cause dry mouth. Other things that you can do to promote saliva production are sucking on sugar free candies or chewing gum, drinking lots of water, breathing through your nose, and using a humidifier in the winter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here at the Rideau Dental Centre by calling 613-230-7475.