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Dental Controversies: A Dentist's Perspective

With so many conflicting reports in the news, it's hard to know which side of an issue is the right side to be on.  Thankfully, there are experts we trust to help us separate fact from hysteria. In that spirit, here are some of the most controversial dental topics to make headlines, and Dr. Hill’s take on them.

Removing Teeth for Orthodontic Treatment

It wasn’t that long ago that removing teeth for orthodontic treatment was standard procedure. Today, there are still some orthodontists and dentists who remove teeth to create space, but they are thankfully becoming fewer and far between. As many of the patients who had their teeth removed for braces aged, they began to develop health problems like sleep apnea, because their mouth had become smaller and therefore they can not breathe properly. For that reason, Dr. Hill does not advocate for removing teeth for orthodontic procedures. There are many ways to create space in the jaw that will work much more effectively than removing perfectly healthy teeth.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals that have been used in fillings for over 150 years. Amalgam fillings appear silver, but they can include a mixture of silver, tin, copper, zinc, palladium, and indium.  Today, however, amalgam fillings aren’t the only game in town anymore. They have been widely replaced by resin, porcelain, and composite fillings, which are usually made of powdered glass and acrylic.

While amalgam fillings have long had a reputation for strength and durability, they’re not fail-proof, and eventually, they may need to be replaced. When a patient comes to Dr. Hill to get a new filling or replace an old amalgam filling, they can expect to get that filling replaced with something other than an amalgam filling. That’s because though Dr. Hill considers older amalgam fillings acceptable if they are in good condition, he will not use them on his patients, and he wouldn’t use them in his own mouth either. That’s because these metals can be very dangerous, and given the much safer options, they are no longer worth the risk.

Fluoridated Water Supply

Another controversial topic that’s been making headlines around the country is the question of whether it is safe to fluoridate a public water supply. Advocates against it say that it could cause cancer, a claim that has been debunked by the Public Health Service (PHS), National Research Council (NRC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

What has been proven time and time again is the effects a fluoridated water supply has on the teeth of the people who ingest that water. According to the American Dental Association, people in communities with fluoridated water have at least 25 percent fewer cavities than those in communities without fluoridated water. For that reason, Dr. Hill is an advocate for fluoridated water and believes the benefits far outweigh any potential risks.

Botox and Fillers at the Dentist

You may have heard that dentists in some areas of the country can offer patients cosmetic services like Botox or other dermal facial fillers. While this is no longer allowed in the State of Texas, Dr. Hill believes that patients in areas where this is permitted are at a great advantage, as dentists are extremely familiar with the muscles and nerves of the face.

If you live in an area where dentists can offer this service, you can trust that you are probably in excellent hands receiving fillers from your dentist, but you should certainly beware of undergoing this type of procedure from someone such a cosmetologist or aesthetician. While these professionals are trained in varying degrees of skincare, they are not required to take biology classes and may not be as familiar with the musculature of the face as a doctor would be. For patients in areas where dentists are not permitted to perform these procedures, Dr. Hill suggests using a dermatologist or board certified plastic surgeon.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of these topics, or to schedule an appointment, give Dr. Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.

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