Prioritizing Our Patients' Health & Safety 

Dear patients,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
 
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.
 
Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.
 
You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:
 
• If you are sick or concerned you might be sick, please cancel your appointment. You will not be penalized in any way for the cancellation, even at the last minute.
 
• Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. When you get to the office, you are asked to remain in your car and call our office number 972-412-5064. A staff member will come out to you and you will be asked those same screening questions again and have your temperature taken before entering the office.
 
• If you are a new patient, we would really appreciate you using the online patient portal to fill out paperwork prior to your appointment.
 
• We will ask you to immediately wash your hands with soap and water when you enter the office.
 
• You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect. There will also be very few chairs present to avoid crowds in the waiting room. Computers will have disposable covers and counter tops, door handles, waiting room chairs and surfaces will be disinfected with increased frequency.
 
• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. We will also ask that only the patient, and in necessary cases a legal guardian, enter the office. Older children and adults are requested to experience their appointments alone while family members remain in the car and/or waiting room.
 
• We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
 
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 972-412-5064 or visit our website at www.mymouthdental.com.  
 
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Ramsey, Dr. Montoya and Team

Are Amalgam Fillings Bad for You?

Metal amalgam has been widely used in dentistry for more than 150 years. Literally hundreds of millions of patients all over the world have had silver fillings placed in their teeth. In recent years, however, an increasing number of patients and dental professionals have begun to question the material's safety. These concerns are understandable since one of the primary ingredients of amalgam is the toxic element mercury. Many patients find themselves asking, "Are amalgam fillings bad for you?" A brief look at the existing facts can help clarify this issue.

Metal filling
Metal fillings are often recommended for the molars because the material is extremely strong and durable. 

What is Dental Amalgam?

The word "amalgam," by definition, refers to any metallic alloy that includes the element mercury. Amalgam dental filling material is made up of liquid mercury mixed with a finely powdered metal alloy containing silver, tin, and copper. The mercury, which acts as a type of binder, is mixed with the metal powder in the dental office, resulting in a putty-like consistency. Only minutes after it is placed, the material starts to harden. Within hours, it reaches its maximum strength. 

Amalgam has been a popular and effective method for filling dental cavities because of several benefits. The material is extremely strong and durable, even when subjected to extreme pressure. Metal fillings are also convenient and affordable.

Illustration of metal vs. white filling
Although metal fillings do not look as natural as composite restorations, some patients may choose the material for its durability.

Understanding the Effects of Mercury

Mercury is all around us. It exists in trace amounts in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. Levels can be especially high in fish harvested from polluted bodies of water. Over time, mercury from all these sources accumulates in our organs. If the levels become high enough, they can cause health problems. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include symptoms such as headaches, memory loss, irritability and anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

The FDA, ADA, and similar agencies have found insufficient evidence to support a correlation between metal fillings and adverse health effects.

Since dental amalgam contains a significant amount of mercury, it is logical to suspect that there is a potential risk. It is known that amalgam fillings are not completely inert: they release low levels of mercury vapor, and they contribute—albeit slightly—to mercury bioaccumulation in certain organs. Because of the concern over amalgam filling materials, scientists have conducted a great deal of research to evaluate the safety of metal fillings. 

The FDA and Other Agencies Weigh In

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recognized this public concern and decided to conduct an exhaustive review of all the studies relating to the safety of amalgam alloy fillings. The agency formally released their conclusions in a paper and addendum published in 2006 and 2009, respectively. The FDA concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support an "association between exposure to mercury from dental amalgams and adverse health effects in humans, including sensitive subpopulations."

This paper also recommended that as a precaution, dentists should avoid using amalgam in certain patients. These include children under the age of six, women who are pregnant, and patients who are otherwise exposed to mercury or who eat a large amount of seafood. Other agencies, including the American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Life Sciences Research Office (LSRO) later published similar opinions. This is an issue that the FDA and other organizations will continue to monitor.

Should Patients Have Their Amalgam Fillings Removed?

Some practitioners recommend the removal of all amalgam fillings because of their concerns about possible mercury poisoning. They then propose replacing them with an alternative material, such as composite resin, porcelain, or cast gold restorations.

Neither the FDA nor the ADA recommends this approach. Their consensus is that healthy, functional silver amalgam fillings should not be electively replaced. The process of removing these fillings can potentially expose the patient to additional mercury vapor that is released. Certain techniques and systems are recommended in order to safely perform this procedure. Most dentists will agree that the only valid reasons to remove an amalgam alloy filling include:

  • The restoration has become loose or otherwise defective
  • Decay has developed around the margins
  • The patient is believed to have developed an allergy or sensitivity to one of the metal components in the filling 

If replacement becomes necessary, patients should discuss the best material for their needs with their dentist.

Fillings Provide Long-Lasting Protection

Amalgam alloy is a safe, cost-effective, and durable dental filling material. It has been thoroughly tested during decades of use and scrutinized in a great number of scientific studies over the past several decades. Even though amalgam alloy restorations appear to pose no significant health hazards, some patients may still have reservations. Dentists should respect these concerns and thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of alternative materials, such as composite resin, with their patients.

My Mouth Dental and My Kidz Mouth Dental office front

My Mouth Dental and My Kidz Mouth Dental

At My Mouth Dental and My Kidz Mouth Dental, we are committed to providing the very highest standard of care for patients of all ages. Drs. José Montoya, Ashley Ramsey, and Neha Khanolkar provide a range of services and are affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
  • The College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

Are you ready to achieve excellent oral health? Reach out to our practice by requesting a consultation online or calling us at (972) 412-5064.

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Rowlett Office

9101 Lakeview Parkway
Suite 200
Rowlett, TX 75088

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