Dear Valued Patient of D&P Dentistry, 


We are happy to report that we are able to start the process of a soft reopening as of May 11th.  However, there will be many policy changes made within the office that will be utilized at least for the first several weeks of as we adapt to these uncertain times.  We will be seeing patients at half capacity in order to practice optimum infection control, social distancing and also to control the burn rate of our personal protective equipment as it will still not be readily available in the future. 


 If you have an upcoming appointment and plan to reschedule PLEASE call us asap! As we are continuing to work on the schedule and accommodate everyone. The following are important steps patients should be informed of...


1.  Please arrive promptly for you appointment, remain in your car and call the office at (352) 331-4626 when you arrive.  
2.  Please wear your face covering or mask in the office (pursuant to the state of Florida office of the governor executive order number 20-11 and Alachua County Commissioner. 
3. A staff member will meet you at your car where you will be screened. We will check your temperature and pulse ox and have you fill out a questionnaire.  
4. We will take you straight back to the treatment room for your procedure. 
5. We ask that anyone accompanying you remain in the car. 


  * Please bring a jacket or blanket if you normally get cold! The temperature will be down and we will be wearing added gear. 


While some things seem so different we hope you find comfort knowing that at we are taking all necessary steps to protect our patients and staff.  Under all the masks and face shields the same familiar faces you are used to seeing will be taking care of you! 
                           

Thank you for your support!

 D&P Dentistry Team
 

We will continue to provide updates as needed. 

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.

D&P Dentistry

The team of dental professionals at D&P Dentistry provides exceptional dental work and patient education to help you and your family achieve your best smiles. Our doctors are affiliated with:

  • American Dental Association
  • Alachua County Dental Association

To schedule an appointment at our Gainesville, FL, office, please contact us online or call (352) 331-4626.

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7575 W University Ave
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Gainesville, FL 32607

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