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Thread: Dental Care

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    Default Don't let Dentists Badger You with This Outdated Practice

    Story at-a-glance
    • The Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry seeks to end abominable 150-year historical mistake of using mercury-containing amalgam fillings
    • Health ramifications of amalgam use disproportionately affects working class with limited insurance plans and Medicaid recipients, particularly the disabled
    • Dental amalgams are a taxpayer rip-off. If dentists using amalgam had to pay for environmental cleanup, the price of amalgam would be exorbitant
    • Detailed action plan for Americans, Canadians, Australians, Britons, and Europeans to help remove mercury fillings from their countries

    By Dr. Mercola
    With Consumers for Dental Choice
    That American dentistry became mired in mercury is a story of profits first, people last. Amalgam is a primitive, pre-Civil War, pollution product that is half mercury. The 50 percent of North American dentists still using amalgam likely do so for the quick and easy profits – while handing us the bill for the health effects and environmental disaster.
    Now is the time for those dentists still using amalgam to switch, and join their brother and sister dentists who practice mercury-free dentistry. Now is the time for you to decide that henceforth you will not allow mercury in your mouth or your child's mouth – no matter what a pro-mercury dentist might say. Now is the time for you to tell your neighbor, cousin, or best friend: Don't get a mercury filling.
    And what is a mercury filling?
    It is what the mainstream press calls "silver fillings."
    Mercury Amalgams More Commonly Used in Minorities and the Poor...

    Just like the one-size-fits-all strategy of medicating community water supplies with fluoride, the use of mercury amalgams disproportionally affects minorities and the poor, as they frequently are left without options—even when they know better and want a safer alternative.
    As explained by Charlie Brown in the featured interview:
    "People on these very limited dental insurance plans or on Medicaid often have no bargaining power with their dentists. They are being told by the dentists, "This is what I'm going to do." The dentist may not even tell them what they're going to do. They just put in fillings. Some dentists treat their patients and those teeth like dollar signs.
    There's a disproportionate impact on working [class] American families—whether in Appalachia, where I'm from, or in inner-cities. Working [class] families: white, African-American, Latino, and Native Americans are much more likely to get a mercury filling.
    ... It's unscrupulous dentistry and it's terribly unfair to these families... One group that is particularly badly treated are children with disabilities... [T]here was just an all-out battle in Philadelphia, because we succeeded in getting a fact sheet law, so the parents were reading the fact sheets, saying, "I don't want amalgam." The dentists serving children with disabilities were telling the parents, "You will get the filling I decide on"... Parents were forced to leave the office or accept a mercury filling! These dentists were backed up by the Pennsylvania Dental Association. That was condemnable.
    ... The ADA in fact issued an apology recently for its history of racism. That appears to continue with their attitude that those who are disabled have no rights to mercury-free dentistry. That's one of the battles that we're [facing]... to protect those who are less able to fend for themselves in this economic society."
    Consumers for Dental Choice Paves the Way for Mercury-Free Dentistry Worldwide

    Leading the charge against mercury fillings is Consumers for Dental Choice, a nonprofit group founded by Charlie Brown that merits your support. With its worldwide Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry, we get closer – year-by-year, and day-by-day – to ending this abominable 150-year historical mistake. But to win, we need action in communities across the United States and around the world.
    Here's what you can do right in your community or your workplace:
    • If your dentist has not switched to mercury-free dentistry, this is the time for him or her to do so. Call your dentist and ask. If they use mercury and insist on sticking with it, re-consider your choice of dentists.
    • If you work for a company that covers dental fillings, ask if they will cover composites, ART, or other alternatives to amalgam. Consider the stellar example of the Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin company, which fully covers composite but does not pay for amalgam! Parker-Hannifin employees and their families are getting non-toxic dental fillings.
    • If you have dental insurance, ask about ending primacy for amalgam. That's what United Concordia has done with its policies.
    • If you know your Mayor or a member of your City or Town Council, consider asking if they will do what is happening in some California cities: pass a resolution calling for an end to amalgam and a request that dentists in your town stop using amalgam.
    What You Can Do to Help Abolish Mercury Amalgams

    Charlie Brown, who runs Consumers for Dental Choice, is headed to Nairobi in October to lead a worldwide delegation participating in the world mercury treaty negotiations. With him will be a team of dentists, consumers, attorneys, and scientists fighting to get amalgam into that treaty. With the world deciding whether we continue allowing mercury in children's mouths, much is at stake.
    During this Mercury-Free Dentistry Awareness Week, I urge you to take action.
    Here's what you can do:
    Americans: Our number one problem is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has partnered with the American Dental Association (ADA) to cover up the mercury; to make you think you are getting silver instead of toxic mercury in your mouth. The FDA intentionally conceals the warnings about amalgam deep in its regulation -- so parents will never see them. On its website, the FDA gives dentists the green light to continue to deceive consumers with the term "silver fillings"
    "Americans are ready for the end of amalgam." This was the theme of the testimony to the U.S. Department of State on August 18 by former West Virginia state Senator Charlotte Pritt. Yes, Americans are ready. But FDA is not. So let's send them a message.Nine months ago, FDA scientists advised the agency to disclose the mercury to all patients and parents, and to stop amalgam for children and pregnant women. Yet FDA sits – sits actually in the pocket of the American Dental Association – ignoring its own scientists.
    Please write the Director of FDA's Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, jeff.shuren@fda.hhs.gov Ask Dr Shuren why the FDA continues to ignore scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when the FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.
    Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director
    Center for Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Admin.
    10903 New Hampshire Ave.
    WO66-5431, Room 5442
    Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
    Telephone: 301-796-5900
    Fax: 301-847-8149
    Fax: 301-847-8109
    Californians : Dr. Shuren is coming to San Francisco for a "town meeting" on September 22. We urge Northern Californians to attend. It will go from 8 am to 12 noon, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, San Francisco Airport (telephone: 650.589.3400)
    In Southern California, Consumers for Dental Choice is organizing a city-by-city attack on amalgam --- and needs volunteers. If you wish to help with the grassroots work of organizing for city council hearings, gathering petitions, and telephoning, volunteer by writing announcements@toxicteeth.org
    Australians: Your government, Aussies, is now in last place on the mercury treaty, asking the world to throw in the towel instead of working to phase out dental mercury. A great new group has started, Australians for Mercury-Free Dentistry, led by dentist Lisa Matriste and consumer activist Anna Priest. We urge you to go to its website and join: http://www.mercuryfreedentistry.com.au/
    Canadians: The chief dental officer of Health Canada doubles as a lobbyist for the pro-mercury World Dental Federation. Pretty outrageous, eh? We ask that you write Minister of Environment Canada Peter Kent at Minister@ec.gc.ca, and tell him that you as a taxpayer are amazed that Environment Canada is letting someone with such a conflict of interest influence the nation's treaty policy on amalgam. Ask him why Environment Canada is silent on amalgam, and if this is due to the fact that Canada's Chief Dental Officer was at the treaty sessions boasting that he "wears two hats," paid government employee and lobbyist for a special interest group.
    Brits and other Europeans: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution this spring calling for the end of amalgam. The Council of Europe is not the European Union -- it is every European nation, all 47 of them. Deputy Jean Huss drafted the meticulously-researched report upon which this resolution was based. This ground-breaking report explained that “[A]malgams are the prime source of exposure to mercury for developed countries, also affecting embryos, fetuses (through the placenta) and children (through breastfeeding)… Exposure to mercury can seriously affect the health of patients and dental professionals…[B]etween 60 and 90 tonnes of mercury from dental surgeries are released into and contaminate Europe’s atmosphere, surface waters and soil every year.” Please thank Deputy Huss for his excellent work at Jhuss@chd.lu.
    Folks worldwide: If you aren't on that list, there's plenty to do – for example, Dominique Bally, an outstanding young advocate from the Ivory Coast, runs the Amalgam-Free Africa Campaign. If you want to help somewhere, anywhere, and there's nothing on the list above for you, write Charlie Brown at charlie@toxicteeth.org
    Last but certainly not least, I encourage you to contribute to Consumers for Dental Choice. The Natural Health Research Foundation, founded by me, Dr. Mercola, will double match whatever you give this week. I believe that strongly in the mission, the commitment, and the quality of work of Consumers for Dental Choice and its Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry.
    Dr. Mercola Recommends...

    Every "Like" Helps Support This Cause

    Donations can be made online at http://www.toxicteeth.org/donate.cfm. (Consumers for Dental Choice, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry. Contributions are tax-deductible in the U.S.)
    Checks can be mailed to:
    Consumers for Dental Choice
    316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
    Washington DC 20002
    Also, for timely updates and information, please join Consumers for Dental Choice on Facebook.
    Thank you for supporting mercury-free dentistry!

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    Default Why Your Dentist Costs So Much

    Why Your Dentist Costs So Much

    By Sarah Lorge Butler - Jun 30, 2011

    Back in April I wrote about a person near and dear to me — yes, my husband — who needed two new crowns for $3,442. I published his experience in a post, Is Your Dentist Ripping You Off? Dentists howled in protest at the provocative headline, though most agreed with the content of the story.

    Patients howled too, about the high cost of dental work, and the feeling that they’ve encountered dentists who don’t have their best interests at heart. Here’s a typical letter: “My wife saw a dentist who quoted her $750. Then halfway through the job, when she was numb and had a big hole in her mouth, he told her he misquoted the price and it was going to be $1,500. She could not exactly argue.” Another reader wrote of going to two different dentists and getting two completely different opinions about what his mouth needs and when it needs it. Who do you trust?

    I heard from people who work in dental labs that charge the dentists $125 for a high-end crown, so why the tenfold markup? One dentist in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offered to do my husband’s work for him for $1,395, or 40% of what he was quoted by his guy. All we would have to do was get him from Pennsylvania to Grand Rapids. (We passed.) Another dentist criticized my “gummy smile.” Others wrote of the hours of pro bono work they do and how that’s never noticed.

    Two dentists, Dr. M. in upstate New York and Dr. W. near Indianapolis, agreed to be interviewed. They spoke to me at length about why fees are what they are. Here’s what I learned about why dental work is so expensive.

    Dental care is not a commodity. It’s not laundry detergent or breakfast cereal or wireless minutes. Dentistry is a professional service that’s both art and a science. Yes, there are excellent dentists and not-so-great dentists. Often, you get what you pay for. Yet even great dentists have bad days. “I consider myself an awesome dentist,” Dr. W. told me. “And I’ve had failures.”

    Overhead costs are huge. Anywhere from 60% to 80% of what a patient pays goes toward the expense of running a modern dental practice. Dentists pay for rent or mortgage payments on their office space, payroll for hygienists, office managers and receptionists, health insurance, taxes, supplies, business insurance and technology — just to name a few. “A lot of people would be surprised to know how tight the profit margins are,” Dr. W. says. And many dentists are still paying student loans from dental school.

    Labs differ in the quality of the products they produce. We all want our dentists to be using high-quality labs for things like crowns and dentures. Should we have to ask about the labs? No. We should trust our dentists to select a good one. “In my view, you always want to use a good lab,” Dr. M. said, “because if the crown breaks, I’m the one stuck redoing the thing for another hour and a half for free. It’s important to make sure I’m putting good stuff in people’s mouths, because the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a redo. It doesn’t make me look good, the patients get angry, insurance doesn’t cover it, and it’s a waste of time. You want to do a good job.” Dr. M. has invested in a $100,000 machine that lets him make the crowns himself and cement them in one visit. He says patients love it and it allows him to control the process and do a better job. His fee, however, is higher than many in the area.

    Insurance isn’t really insurance. Dental insurance, the dentists told me, is nothing like health insurance or auto insurance. It’s a maintenance plan that will cover cleanings and x-rays, maybe half the cost of a crown. It will not protect you if you need a lot of work done. The maximum annual benefits, $1,000 to $1,500, haven’t changed in the 50 years since dental insurance became available. “It’s a minor cost assistance, and there’s a widening divide between patients’ expectations of their dental insurance coverage and the actual coverage that’s provided,” says Dr. W.

    Dental insurance drives docs nuts and they wish they didn’t have to use it. “The number one most complicated aspect of running a dental office, bar none, is dealing with dental insurance. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to get through to a rep, make sure the patient does have benefits, calculate a copay,” says Dr. M. And the largest insurance plans in the country discount most dentists’ fees by 10% to 20%. If you’re paying out of pocket, ask for a discount. (You might discover the dentist is giving you one already.)

    Dentists wish patients would value their teeth more. Teeth are a crucial part of health and appearance. Untreated gum disease, for instance, is linked to heart disease. (Would you choose a cardiologist based on price?) “With time, you will come to realize that shopping price is a minor concern when it comes to your health,” says Dr. W. “Any minor cost differences amortized out over a lifetime will become insignificant. You will get the best results and have the most long-term satisfaction getting care from someone you trust.”

    So if you’re convinced dentists are worth their fees, how do you find a good one? The dentists had some suggestions:

    · Ask if he or she uses specialists. Who does your root canals? If the person on the phone says, “We do everything here, that would scare me,” Dr. M. says. Especially orthodontia.

    · Ask your primary care physician which dentist she uses. Ask your lawyer. Ask your boss. In other words, ask professional people whom they trust with their mouths.

    · Ask a dental specialist, like an endodontist. One specialist wrote to tell me, “The best way to find a good dentist is to find a specialist who sees everyone’s patients on a referral basis. He or she will know who is good and who isn’t. Trust me, as a specialist, I know who is doing what, because I see their work every day.”

    · If a dentist doesn’t take insurance, because he or she doesn’t need to, that will be a pretty good dentist. Those pros can book you for longer, and they don’t have to work under the constraints of insurance companies. Be prepared to pay higher fees.

    · Look and look some more. Interview dentists, if they’ll let you. Take the view that your teeth are a lifetime investment.

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    Default Dental Care

    Toothpaste That Fixes Cavities As They Appear

    By Roger Highfield - 24 Feb 2005

    A toothpaste has been developed that can rapidly and seamlessly fix little cavities without need for drilling.

    Dental paste of synthetic tooth enamel could revolutionize treatment of tiny early lesions, says the study published today in the journal Nature by Dr Kazue Yamagishi, of the FAP Dental Institute, Tokyo.

    Tooth decay is normally treated by removal of the affected part, then filling the hole with a resin or metal alloy. This is less than ideal because a lot of healthy tooth must be removed to make the fillings stick.

    Dr Yamagishi and colleagues developed a crystalline white paste of modified hydroxyapatite, which is chemically and structurally similar to natural enamel, and used it to repair early damage to a lower premolar tooth.

    An electron microscope showed that the natural and artificial enamel became integrated as if they were one substance.

    The paste seamlessly repaired early damage caused by acid forming bacteria.


    New Toothpaste is Leaving Dentists Without Work

    November 2015

    Kazue Yamagishi, a Japanese researcher has created a product that will revolutionize personal care, she has invented a toothpaste so good it will put dentists out of work.

    This incredible toothpaste fills all the holes and cracks in the teeth, and restores the tooth enamel at the same time.

    Holes and cracks in the teeth are the major reason for the need for dental work. Although brushing cleans your teeth, there has previously been no way to reverse the effects of damage to your teeth at home until now.

    The toothpaste contains components which mimic tooth enamel, and build up where there are cracks in the tooth. It is similar in its form to regular toothpaste however, and so will be easily adopted by people in their own home.

    The new formula was created by research with the chemical hydroxylapatit, also known as crystalline calcium phosphate, which makes up the main component of the tooth.

    It works by causing a dilution of the acid on the surface of the teeth. After three minutes, the paste starts to crystallize and gets fastened to the structure of the natural enamel.

    With the creation of this product, dentist visits could soon be a thing of the past.


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    Default How to Find a Good Orthodontist in Your Area

    How to Find a Good Orthodontist in Your Area

    Every time I read an orthodontic blog written by another orthodontist, there is almost always an article about how to choose an orthodontist. Predictably, when I get to the conclusion, the best orthodontist for the reader is usually the doctor writing the blog! I’ve always thought that was a little self-serving and vowed I’d never write an article like that myself. Surprisingly however, I’ve had quite a few readers who really want to know how to find a good orthodontist in their own area of the country. Since the vast majority of you reading this live nowhere near Rio Rancho, New Mexico, I am writing this to help you find a good orthodontist near you.

    First, make sure that every orthodontist you consider is actually a specialist and not just a dentist that does orthodontics. Please see my article entitled “What is the Difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist That Does Orthodontics?” for an in depth discussion on why that is important. One way you can be sure that he or she is a specialist is to look him or her up on the websitewww.braces.org. This site lists only specialists who have graduated from an accredited orthodontic program and belong to the American Association of Orthodontists.

    The American Board of Orthodontics website http://www.americanboardortho.com/ lists orthodontists who have gone a step further and become board certified. No matter where you find the name of the doctor, be sure to ask these two simple questions: 1) “Are you a specialist?” and 2) “How long was your specialty training?” If they did not have two to three additional years after dental school, they are not specialists.

    The next place I would seek a referral would be from other SPECIALISTS in the area, especially oral surgeons. Although there are a lot of primary care dentists who might be helpful in your search, many of them are now doing orthodontics themselves and they may try to convince you to get your treatment directly from them. General dentists also form relationships with specific orthodontists and may refer you to their “buddy” whether or not he or she does the best work. Oral surgeons and other specialists work with all of the orthodontists in the area and get to see and compare their work. A dentist may only work with a couple of orthodontists, but an oral surgeon typically works with dozens.

    Another source of information is the Internet. Although it can be a valuable resource however, you need to take the information you find there with a grain of salt. First, practice websites do not always accurately portray the quality of work the orthodontist provides. A bad orthodontist might have found a good website designer. On the other hand, if a practice has a bad website or none at all, that may indicate the doctor does not keep up with the times. You should search for reviews on the orthodontists you’re considering, but again realize that not all reviews are accurate. Happy patients usually don’t go out of their way to write reviews, but unhappy ones can’t wait to get to a computer. No doctor can make every patient happy all the time, so one or two less than perfect reviews should not scare you off assuming there are lots of good ones too. A pattern of terrible reviews however is telling.

    Last but not least, pay a personal visit to the office you are considering. What is your initial impression as you park, approach the building, and are greeted at the front desk? Is the facility modern and clean? Are they running on time? Is the staff helpful and in a good mood? Remember that you are going to be visiting this office about once a month until your treatment is done. Do you feel at home there? Finding an orthodontist is not always easy, but it is worth your time to do some homework. Good luck in your search!



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