April 24, 2013

How do you keep me safe during amalgam removal?

A patient asked me this great question the other day.  Although study after study have shown amalgam (silver fillings) to be safe it remains a significant health concern.  Due to advances in dental materials and patient desires, we don't place too many amalgams at our Montrose Dental Office anymore.  Having said that we do remove a fair amount of old amalgam fillings.  While no well based scientific studies have shown that having amalgam in your mouth is detrimental to your health, it is true that during the removal of amalgam fillings you are most susceptible to the mercury and other contents of the filling.

To combat this we take several measures: 

1.  We use a rubber dam.....a latex or non-latex shield over your mouth to isolate everything we are doing while working on your teeth.  This prevents the amalgam debris, grit and vapor from being swallowed or inhaled.

2.  High speed suction.....this aids in catching debris, water and vapors during the removal process.

3.  Removal technique...by taking the silver filling out in as large of piece as possible while removing minimal tooth structure we decrease the amount of amalgam debris and vapor.  This is also done with fine water spray to keep amalgam dust and vapor to a minimum.

If you have any other questions, please visit our website:  drakdds.com

October 23, 2012

Are dental X-rays safe for me?

This has been an increasingly common question lately.  Definitely not a new question, but one that has received more attention since a study tried to link dental films to meningiomas (a specific type of brain tumor).  Although the study was incredibly flawed it would be foolish to totally disregard the concern.  If for no other reason, this study will ensure that the safety of dental x-rays will continually be monitored.

At our Montrose dental office, we are committed to patient safety.  First and foremost our driving force is the ALARA principle.  As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  Not only do we follow this principle in regard to how many films patients are exposed to, but also the level of radiation.  Since each patient has specific concerns and dental risk level we base the need for dental x-rays on that specific person and not a standardized protocol.  Furthermore, when films are needed we do everything possible to decrease risk levels.  This includes lead aprons, thyroid collars and the use of digital radiographs since 2003.  The switch to digital x-rays alone lowered exposure by over 40%.  If you have any specific concerns, please feel free to contact our office

As an interesting fact, did you know that the amount of radiation in a dental x-ray is 1/20th of that in a chest x-ray and 1/800th of that in a mammogram?  If you would like more information please click on the Patient Education tab on our website:  www.drakdds.com.

June 12, 2012


Welcome to my new blog. I am starting this blog in an effort to connect with our community and help answer any general dental questions you may have. Dentistry is changing and evolving at a rapid pace and the amount of information out there can be quite overwhelming. My goal is to help sort through all this information in a safe non-committal environment. I am a general dentist and have a Montrose, Colorado Dental Practice. To submit questions or comments, please use the contact page on our website: drakdds.com

Thank you and I hope you enjoy!