19 Apr Your family, Your choice
One size doesn’t fit all. More is always better. Take my word for it.
Always doing the best for your family is a tough endeavor. We are parents and it can be exhausting taking in all that our healthcare system has to offer. Dental is no exception, as the services we provide expand; we have arrived at the perfect time to step back and bring the family back into the conversation.
This year at our annual meeting, Dr. Meghan Thomas released a form that will be given to all patients offering alternatives to the ADA Standards. This form goes over Fluoride, radiographs, fillings/restorations, and polishing. Some around our office have even asked why we would want to do this and our answer is simple, to bring the family back into the conversation. Where most offices want to treat all patients the same – we understand that care should be tailored to the individual and that ultimately you have the choice in the service being performed.
Fluoride has been at the forefront of most dental conversations with individuals being concerned about long term effects of its application. As dentists, we adhere to our profession’s guidelines that for most children under the age of 14; fluoride is proven safe and effective for cavity prevention and remineralization. Fluoride is linked to the largest reduction in the occurrence of cavities for young children, this took place when municipal water supplies were fluoridated some years ago. Today, its use is covered by most insurance plans who back it as a cost effective means to prevent tooth decay. While it is recommended, fluoride is most useful when a children has a high risk for decay. These are children with many existing restorations, those who drink many sugary or acidic drinks, and children who do not consume tap water regularly.
Most dentists would agree that imaging and dental radiation have seen the largest leaps in technology, more so than any other service we provide. Where as just a few years ago we were using traditional film tabs, not too different from an old kodak camera, we now have the ability to cut our radiation exposure by 70% with digital radiographs. Doing this with select pictures and not taking images that don’t have value to us, greatly reduce exposures. Currently, taking a series of bitewing radiographs would be the equivalent of standing outside for a few hours – all while allowing the diagnosis of dental caries and infections.
Restorative materials are also changing at an incredible pace. Our grandparents generation used gold, my generation and my parents used silver amalgam fillings, and now we have seen the use of white composite fillings skyrocket. This change in preference has circled around two issues – esthetic concerns and mercury in fillings. In our office we still use silver fillings in back teeth, the reason being that silver fillings last on average 40 years, white fillings on average last 10 years. It is still the ADA recommendation that silver fillings are the best restorative material for posterior teeth. The mercury issue is understandable, but in study after study the amount of leaching mercury from dental restorations is almost undetectable, having a long track record of safe and effective use.
Why does this all matter? Moving forward as your provider; you will always have the final say in treatment. We promise to never try and “sneak” anything by on you or your children. If fluoride isn’t a good fit for you or your children, we understand. Have questions about radiographs? Let’s talk. White fillings fit your desires better than silver? No problem. The form we have released will serve to empower you in your decisions so you never have to “take our word for it.”