For over a hundred and fifty years, dental amalgam fillings have been the go-to material for dental restorations. Owing much of its popularity for its durability and low cost, the continued use of dental amalgam in modern dentistry have been called into question primarily because of its mercury component.
As a neurotoxin, mercury is a heavy metal that at certain doses can cause adverse effects on the nervous and respiratory systems. According to the researchers, Assistant Professor Xiaozhong John Yu and Scientist Lei Yin, "As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. So, if you have one dental filling, maybe it's OK. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher."
Total Body Dentistry has long been familiar with the correlation between the presence of dental amalgam fillings and mercury levels in the body. However, we also maintain that regardless that if whether a patient has a single mercury filling or more - it chronically exposes the patient to mercury as the fillings can leak and emit vapors during brushing, dental cleaning, and even chewing.
Further, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in the US advised that there has been confusion in the media regarding the term surface restorations. In a news release, IAOMT stated, "That each tooth has five surfaces, which means that a person with only two fillings could have up to ten surface restorations." The group further stated that it "(C)ontacted one of the researchers of the study, who confirmed that the research was measuring mercury-filled surfaces."
As dental healthcare professionals, we believe in valuing patient welfare and as such, we support the call for dental amalgam fillings to be phased-out of the profession and that a patient's right to informed choice must always be respected.
Dentures are interesting as it is a dental procedure that blends science and art. Depending on the artistic and technical skill of the dentist, dentures can make or break a person's appearance. In the hands of a very talented dentist, dentures can look natural and complement a patient's facial features.
From Bones to Resins
Interestingly enough, the application of dentures is not a modern day technique. Since around 7000 BC, dentures were already being made from human and animal teeth. With industrialization and the increased consumption of sugar, tooth decay has become more prevalent and demand for dentures increased. By then, dentures were made from horse's teeth, elephant or hippopotamus ivory, and human teeth extracted from fallen soldiers, executed criminals, and poor folks desperate to make a quick buck. These materials were easily worn and eventually were replaced by porcelain.
These days, porcelain is still used is and one of the more popular choices because of its close resemblance to natural teeth. However, porcelain can be easily chipped or broken. The introduction of acrylic, offered a sturdier and less expensive option to porcelain. Whatever "tooth" is used, these are set in either an acrylic resin, plastic, or metal framework.
There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Partial dentures are used to replace a couple or more missing teeth and are typically held in place by a plastic/resin and metal framework. Meanwhile, a full denture or "false teeth" is for patients with no remaining teeth. These also come in two types: the conventional full denture or an immediate full denture.
Conventional dentures are fitted into the patient after some period of recovery while an immediate denture is fitted into the patient directly after tooth extraction. While immediate dentures offer the convenience of not having to experience being toothless, keep in mind that gums and bones recede during the healing process, and immediate dentures may need to be retrofitted or be eventually replaced with conventional dentures
The Pros and Cons
Like any dental or medical procedure, dentures have a list of advantages and disadvantages.
Less expensive and less intrusive than implants.
Provide structure to the face.
Robust eating as chewing and biting is easier.
Without adequate care, dentures can cause damage and infection to surrounding teeth and gums.
Ill-fitting dentures can cause headaches, eating difficulties, and even lead to embarrassing moments such as moving or falling out of place at the most inappropriate moment.
Concerns about materials used leaching toxins into the body causing allergies, stomatitis, and oral cavity deterioration.
Note however that concerns regarding the biocompatibility of dentures are continually being examined and tested and to date, patients' reactions to the materials need further study as results remain inconclusive. If you have apprehensions to dentures, dental implants can be a more reliable alternative to dentures but as it is largely dependent on the overall oral health quality of the patient, implants are on the suggestion of the dentist.
For any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch with us at +632.727.8665 to schedule an appointment.