All posts by writeradmin

writeradmin writes blog posts on behalf of Dr. Kasia Lopez

Do dentists still use mercury?

I was wondering if there is still mercury in fillings or if they’ve stopped using that as filling material?

Natalie M. – Denver, CO

Natalie,

It depends on the dentist. If you go to a mercury free dentist, than you won’t have to worry about any mercury in your fillings.  However, traditional “silver” (amalgam) fillings are still made mostly of mercury.

You’d think in this day and age, we would have eliminated it. Though composite filings are wonderful (and mercury free), there are still dentists who prefer to do things “the way they’ve always been done.”

Though, the ADA has declared amalgam fillings save, I understand anyones hesitation to put a known toxic element into their body.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Can I take Invisalign without appointments?

I was really hoping to straighten my smile, but I’m leaving the country for two months to serve a mission. There won’t be a dentist availble, except possible a volunteer mission dentist, but they won’t have any real technology with them. Is it possible to do Invisalign without coming in for the bimonthly appointments?

Sean B. – North Dakota

Sean,

Technically, I would say it is possible. You’ll have to find an invisalign dentist who would be willing to work with you.  He or she could give you enough aligners for the two months you’ll be gone and then you’d come in right away to be checked.

You’ll have less saliva that reaches your teeth while wearing the aligners, so you’ll want to be sure your teeth stay as clean as possible. I don’t know what your conditions will be like where you’re going, but bring plenty of water, toothpaste, and floss.

Without your normal amount of saliva, you’ll be more susceptible to tooth decay and other issues.

Good luck on your mission. This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Do orthodontic bands really work for my gap?

I keep reading these reviews for bands that close gaps in your teeth.  Do these really work? I have a small gap that has always embarassed me. These bands don’t cost much money, which is appealing.

Rianna – Bethesda, MD

Rianna,

I’m glad you wrote before you purchased these. I firmly believe, though these bands may lessen or even close your gap, that they are dangerous. They lessen the gap by tipping your teeth together, this can actually loosen your teeth and damage their underlying root.

Plus, there have been occassions where they have made their way under your gums. This will cause them to such serious damage that your teeth will fall out.

Your best bet is to meet with a dentist who also does orthodontics. There are new options, aside from tradition braces to straighten teeth, such as Invisalign–even more when it comes to closing a tooth gap, some are not even orthodontic, such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

See what all your options are before doing something that can cause permanent damage.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Will insurance cover a TMJ Specialist?

My doctor suspects it may be TMJ that is causing my headaches. He suggested I see a TMJ specialist. Do you know if insurance covers that? What kind of insurance do I need?

Fran – Boise, ID

Fran,

There’s nothing worse than worrying that you can’t afford something you need, especially when it is causing you pain.  Every insurance policy is different. You should call your medical and dental insurance companies and see exactly what services they cover.

When it comes to finding your TMJ specialist, you need to be careful.  There isn’t a recogninzed specialty of TMJ Specialist. Instead a general dentist, oral surgeon, or orthodontist can get some TMJ training. Not every dentist who calls themself a TMJ specialist is well-trained. That is where you’ll have to protect yourself by doing some research.

You’ll want the dentist to have significant post-graduate training from some place like the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, also known as LVI.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago holistic dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Can I drink coffee with my Invisalign?

I just got invisalign and realized that my dentist said to keep them in except when I’m eating.  I tend to drink more coffee than that. Can I drink it while they’re in or do I need to wait until my meal times?

Amy H. – New Hampshire

Amy,

I’m sure your dentist told you how many hours you needed to wear your Invsialign aligners on a daily basis in order for them to work effectively.  As long as your meal times don’t use up all your time, you should be able to sneak in a cup.

However, I wouldn’t drink coffee with your Invisalign aligners on. The heat of the coffee will warp your aligners and make them less effective and damaging your treatment plan.  Additionally, the coffee can pool in the aligners and seriously damage the enamel on your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Can medicine cause you to grind your teeth?

I’ve been having pretty severe jaw pain and headaches.  I went in to see my dentist and he said it looks like I’ve been grinding my teeth.  I know this is a  longshot, but could this new medication I’ve been on cause this? It’s called Atapryl.

Frank N. – Boston

Frank,

No one really knows the exact reason people grind or clench their teeth, however research suggest that the most common reasons are anger, stress, and anxiety. That being said, over the years it has been discovered that certain medications can cause teeth grinding also, which can lead to TMJ problems. Atapryl is one of them.  Along with other Parkinsons Disease medications like Sinement CR Oral, Carbex, and Selegiline. Another medication called Prolintane for patients with dementia and certain types of anti-depressant medications are also known to cause grinding or clenching. Stimulants like amphetamines which has some features found in Ecstasy, an illicit drug, can also cause one to grind. If you are taking these medications and are concerned that you may be grinding or clenching ask your dentist if he/she sees any signs of teeth wear. Your dental provider may recommend a night guard to prevent you from causing damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw joints. You don’t want to cause TMJ problems.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Options for mercury free dentistry for children

I wanted to find a pediatric dentist that would understand that I don’t want fillings with mercury in them.  I’m having trouble finding one. Do you have any suggestions?

Lisa E. – New Mexico

Lisa,

It is sometimes hard to find a dentist who understands a patient’s concern. A parent’s concerns are especially important. There are holistic pediatric dentists. They will definitely be mercury-free dentists. There are also pediatric dentists who aren’t holistic, but will do mercury free fillings.

However, you’ve been looking and unable to find one in your area. That leaves you with two real choices. The first is for you to drive out  of your area where there will be a mercury free pediatric dentist. The second option is to go to a general dentist that enjoys treating children. Many general dentists are also mercury free.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Toxic Teeth

Last year an article was posted on the Dr. Oz  website about entitled Toxid Teeth: Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?  It caused a small stir. Not because the article was controversial, but because so many people didn’t realize that there was mercury in their amalgam, generally known as silver, fillings.

Many people ran to their dentist insisting their amalgam fillings  be removed. The only problem with that is many dentists aren’t set up to safely remove fillings that contain mercury.   A lot of mercury vapor is releasd during the removal process. The safest route is to go to a mercury-free dentist. They are more likely to have a rubber dam, which will minimize your exposure to the vapor.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Problems with my bite after crowns

I ended up getting several dental crowns. I thought this would be helpful, but now my opposing teeth are not touching and I’m getting headaches.  Shouldn’t my teeth be touching?

Miriam L. – Pennsylvania

Miriam,

You are correct that your opposing teeth should be touching.  You need to get this looked at right away. If your crowns are throwing off your bite it could cause serious problems, including TMJ.

There is a whole study in dentistry on occlusion, or how your teeth come together. If your dentist didn’t do your crowns properly, it could cause serious problems.

I suggest you see a TMJ Specialist. You’ll want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and can find the most expedient way to rectify any damage your dentist did.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Diagnosed with TMJ from Numb Fingers

I mentioned that my fingers were numb during my last dental check up.  I wasn’t looking for a diagnosis, just making a passing comment. My dentist said it was because I have TMJ.   Is it possible he’s right.  That seems like quite a leap to me.

Hannah S. – Mesa, AZ

Hannah,

TMJ can cause numbness in your fingers. Here is what happens. TMJ can cause muscle spasms. All the muscles in your body are connected to one another. This can cause a tingling or numbness in different extremities, including your fingers. However, it isn’t the only cause of numbness, nor is it the only symptom of TMJ.  I wouldn’t just jump into TMJ treatment based on that alone.  If it is combined with other symptoms then I might be more comfortable.

I would see a TMJ specialist and tell him or her all your symptoms. Let them look at you, check your bite, and evaluate you. Then, if your sure you have TMJ you can have more confidence in getting treatment. If the dentist (with the right credentials) doens’t think it is TMJ, then you would need to see your doctor. Neuropathy needs to be looked at.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.