At Nebraska Family Dentistry, Dr. Kathryn Alderman is your local biological dentist serving patients at various locations in Lincoln, NE. Dr. Alderman is passionate about helping patients live healthier, happier lives and knows that having a healthy mouth can greatly impact a person’s overall well-being. Dr. Alderman will carefully review your medical history and help you treat your dental conditions using materials and techniques that will benefit your overall health. If you have concerns about older metal restorations that may require replacement or the safety of dental treatment for patients with specific medical conditions or dental anxiety, Dr. Alderman would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.
What is a Biological Dentist?
A biological dentist is a provider who understands that the health of the mouth can impact a person’s overall health. The goal of a biological dentist is to treat dental problems while helping balance systemic health. One of the ways a biological dentist will do this is by ensuring that only the most biocompatible dental materials available are used and that any dental treatment performed helps reduce systemic inflammation in the body. A biological dentist knows that introducing different materials like metals can have an impact on a person’s immune response. Some biological dentists recommend that patients undergo allergy testing to determine if they will react to certain dental materials before initiating dental treatment. A biological dentist will rely on scientific-based evidence of the safety and efficacy of dental treatments before recommending them to patients.
What is the difference between a biological dentist and holistic dentist?
There are many emerging holistic or functional or biological medical providers.
There is a difference between them. The holistic provider often is not science-oriented while biological is a science and fact-based. Dr. Kathryn Alderman is a biological and not a holistic dentist.
Biological Dentistry: Mercury Free Dentistry in Lincoln, NE
Amalgam is a dental material that has been used for many years in dentistry. The use of amalgam fillings in modern dentistry is slowly waning with the development of superior materials and the controversial subject of the threat amalgam fillings may pose to human health. It is estimated that about 50% of dentists in the U.S do not use mercury amalgam fillings, although only about 10% of them understand the health risks associated with amalgam. Amalgam fillings are typically comprised of an alloy of several metals including 50% mercury combined with smaller percentages of silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are often called silver fillings, but in reality, they are not pure silver. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and has been shown to cause various harmful effects on human health. Research suggests that during normal chewing and changes to the temperature in the mouth during eating and drinking may cause the mercury from the fillings to be released into the body, which can contribute to negative effects on systemic health and that a single amalgam filling can release up to 15 mcg of mercury per day into a person’s body. The average adult has up to eight fillings in their mouth, making the average daily exposure up to 120 mcg of mercury per day. For reference, scientists warn the general public not to eat an excess of mercury-containing seafood, which on average would expose someone to 2.3 mcg daily.
In addition to negative health effects, improper disposal of amalgam fillings also poses a risk to the environment. In our Lincoln, NE offices, during the removal of your amalgam fillings, we use amalgam separators to avoid introducing mercury into the city water supply.
Fortunately, this material is no longer being used by many dentists. We use a mercury-free composite material in our Lincoln, NE offices. It is a good idea to ask your dental provider what type of dental materials they use routinely and be aware of any failing amalgam restorations you may have that may need to be replaced in the future with an alternative material.
If you are considering removing old amalgam fillings, it is a good idea to consider seeing a biological dentist for this procedure. Most general dentists who practice conventional dentistry do not employ the same precautions during amalgam removal that a biological dentist will use. This can ultimately put your health at risk. A biological dentist knows that harmful vapors that contain mercury are present during amalgam removal.
To minimize patient exposure during amalgam removal in our offices, patients are instructed not to breathe through their mouth, high-volume evacuators are placed as close to the tooth as possible, the tooth is isolated with a rubber dam, cold water is applied to avoid heating up the material during removal and a room air-purifier is used.
For patients who are concerned about metal toxicity from mercury exposure, it is possible to have urine testing to determine the levels present in the body. Talk to your doctor or dentist about your concerns.
Which Type of Dental Filling Material is the Safest?
Composite resin fillings, glass ionomer, zirconia, gold, and porcelain crowns are all biocompatible alternative dental materials to mercury amalgam fillings. In the past, some of the arguments for the continued use of amalgam was that composite fillings did not last as long as amalgams. Research has shown that amalgam fillings placed on molars have a much higher failure rate than composite fillings. Another reason for the controversy of the composite as a viable alternative to amalgam was that some of them contain BPA (bisphenol-A). You can read about the risks of BPA dental fillings here.
Fortunately, today there are many brands and materials available that do not contain BPA before or after curing. If you have questions or concerns about the type of materials that may be used in your treatment, speak with your dentist. If you suffer from allergies it is possible to have blood testing done that will identify a reaction to the ingredients in dental materials.
Do we use BPA Free Composites?
We have BPA free dental composites available at every Lincoln dental clinic of Nebraska Family Dentistry as a better alternative to BPA containing dental fillings or mercury/silver dental fillings.
What about nickel-free crowns? Do you use nickel-free crowns? Do you have metal-free crowns?
We use two types of nickel-free at our office and Emax crown is metal-free and nickel free type of a dental crown. Emax crown is a porcelain crown and is the most biocompatible, hypo-allergenic, non-metallic restorative material of which we are aware at this time.
Emax Crown Composition (in % by weight):
SiO2 57.0 – 80.0% Li2O 11.0 – 19.0% K2O 0.0 – 13.0% P2O5 0.0 – 11.0% ZrO2 0.0 – 8.0%ZnO 0.0 – 8.0% Al2O3 0.0 – 5.0% MgO 0.0% – 5.0 Colouring oxides 0.0 – 8.00
Full Zirconia Crown Composition:
Zirconium oxide (ZrO2) 86.0 – 93.5%, Yttrium oxide (Y2O3) > 6.5% – ≤ 8.0%, Hafnium oxide (HfO2) ≤ 5.0% Aluminium oxide (Al2O3) ≤ 1.0%,other oxides ≤ 1.0%
The final selection depends on each patient’s overall health, biting forces and occlusion.
Biological Dentistry and How we minimize exposure of amalgam vapor at our office?
The most significant amount of exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings is when they are placed and removed. Appropriate isolation and suction are also essential to help limit exposure to patients. Dr. Oz even suggests that if you have eight or more amalgam fillings, you should have them replaced. In response to his suggestion, I would say that removing eight fillings at once would create an abundance of exposure to Mercury. Myself, I would tend to prefer addressing replacing a few amalgam fillings every few months, instead of removing them all at one time.
Steps for removing amalgam. The procedure for the safe removal of Mercury fillings includes the following actions:
- Keeping the filling at a cooler temperature: Removal of amalgam fillings are done under a constant spray of cold water to keep the temperature low and reduce the release of mercury vapor.
- Using a high-volume evacuation (HVE): The use of a high-volume evacuation system helps scavenge and collect Mercury vapors that are released. A suction tube does remain in the mouth during the procedure to ensure the removal of saliva and Mercury.
- Using an Isolite: We use a non-latex Isolite to prevent swallowing or breathing of toxic Mercury.
- Using an air filtration system: Our air filtration system allows all vapors to leave the office every 30-60 seconds.
Biological Dentistry: Post-Procedure Treatment After Replacing Amalgam / Mercury Fillings
Once the amalgam filling is removed, we recommend proper nutrition. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating better will aid your immune system during the detoxification process.
Taking charcoal, Emergen-C, and eating cilantro have all been found to be helpful detoxification materials.
Should I have my Silver/ Amalgam / Mercury fillings replaced?
Having a good understanding of amalgam fillings along with seeing mounds of supporting research, we do recommend changing Silver fillings if you have any of those following conditions:
Considerations for removal of Amalgam / Mercury fillings:
- Patients who have defective margins or recurrent decay around their dental amalgam fillings.
- Patients who have more than eight amalgam dental fillings.
- Patients who have exhibited a sensitivity or an allergy to dental amalgam (lymphocyte proliferation test).
- Patients who grind their teeth (bruxism).
- Patients who consume high quantities of carbonated beverages and acidic foods-this has been known to cause prolonged levels of higher exposure to mercury vapor from dental amalgam restorations.
- Patients that have medical conditions that could be correlated with metal toxicity.
Biological Dentistry and Root Canals.
Are Root Canals Safe?
Root canal therapy is the last effort that can be made to save a tooth that has sustained trauma or become infected due to a crack or deep cavity. During a root canal, the dentist removes the infected or dead nerve of the tooth, disinfects the canal the nerve once occupied and fills the empty space with a special filling material. Not every case is the same, and not every root canal has the same long-term prognosis.
If the extent of infection is great, root canals can fail because the bacteria may not be completely removed and the tooth will become a source of chronic infection and inflammation in the body. This can lead to the spread of infection to other teeth or parts of the body if it is able to enter into the bloodstream.
It is important to have a dentist who is skilled at removing the bacteria and who chooses which teeth are eligible for root canals carefully. Most teeth that have the infection do not have a good long-term prognosis after root canal therapy due to the difficulty of complete removal of the bacteria during traditional root canal therapy.
How a tooth is determined to be a viable candidate for root canal therapy depends upon the reason for the inflammation of the nerve. Teeth that have been fractured, cracked or have a newly placed filling can lead to nerve inflammation in the tooth. This type of inflammation is acute and can be resolved by performing a root canal.
If a tooth has a large abscess that is draining infectious fluid and has been chronically infected and shows signs of bone loss, performing a root canal will not completely eradicate the bacteria from this infection. After the root canal, the tooth will continue to harbor some of the bacteria from the tooth infection, becoming a chronic source of infection in the body.
Some patients have strong immune systems and can tolerate a low-grade chronic infection for a period of time, but patients who have autoimmune conditions or other inflammatory conditions are at a higher risk of experiencing a second infection after the root canal is completed. In this situation, the best option is to remove the tooth which is the source of infection, allow the bone to heal and replace the tooth with a dental implant.
What are my options for replacing a missing tooth if I do not want a root canal or an implant?
You could replace it with a dental bridge or a partial removable denture.
Are Titanium implants safe for your overall health?
Due to the high success rates and relatively low risk of allergy or complications, titanium has been the primary material used for implant posts. Titanium has and still does have a very high biocompatibility rating as well as great results in osseointegration after implant placement. Unfortunately for some patients, titanium is not an option due to metal sensitivity or allergies. For those who have metal allergies, it is advisable to have MELISA testing prior to surgery to be sure they do not have an allergy to titanium. MELISA testing (Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay) is a type of test that uses a blood sample to test for various allergies, including a titanium allergy. It is not a common allergy, with about 4% of subjects tested having positive results. For those who have a titanium allergy, the particles that are released during corrosion of the metal cause the body’s immune system to attack. This can contribute to a cascade effect on the rest of the body. The MELISA test is scientifically proven and can diagnose a titanium allergy as well as the severity of the allergic response.
It is important to note that for the vast majority of patients, titanium dental implants are a viable option. For those few who have metal allergies, there are alternative options available, such as all-porcelain implants but not Zirconia implants as they do have a trace of metals in their composition.
CAQs to our Lincoln, NE Biological Dentist.
What is Biological Dentistry? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
The study of how our mouth is the gateway to the body and understand teeth affect overall well being of patients and has an effect on the overall health of the patient
Do you have a list of ingredients that are in the composite material?
We do have the SDS sheets for every product that we use in our office. They are available online for patients.
Are root canals safe for my health? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
Everybody is different and has different needs. There are many factors involved when deciding on the best treatment option for a patient. if the patient is immune-compromised and the tooth has an active infection we recommend removing the tooth. if the tooth has chronic inflammation and the patient is in good health, the patient could be a candidate for root canal treatment.
Is there BPA in composite? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
Yes, but we do offer BPA free composite.
Are titanium implants safe if I’m allergic to metal? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
Your other option is a porcelain implant.
How do you safely remove the amalgam in my teeth to keep me safe? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
We used an altered SMART system of removing metal fillings. We use an Isolite which is a newer, better version of a dental dam and keeps you from swallowing or inhaling mercury vapors. We also have a state-of-the-art air filtration system that removes mercury vapors and provides the office with a completely new air supply every 30-60 seconds. We also break that filling up into small pieces so as to preserve your healthy tooth structure and make it easier to take out of your mouth safely with an amalgam separator.
Do you offer nutritional support? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
We can absolutely talk through your nutritional concerns and go over some healthier options and steps you can take to become a healthier you. However, we would refer you on to a nutritionist or dietitian if you are looking for intensive nutritional support. We would be happy to go over any testing results with you.
What steps do you use for removing amalgam safely? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
We keep the filling at a cooler temperature with a constant spray of water to reduce the release of mercury vapor. We cut the amalgam into smaller more manageable pieces that can more easily be removed. We have a high-volume evacuation system that helps collect mercury vapors that are released along with a suction tube that stays in the mouth to help with saliva and mercury. We use a non-latex Isolite to prevent swallowing or inhaling of vapors along with our new air filtration system that allows all vapors to leave the office completely every 30-60 seconds.
Do I need to replace my mercury fillings? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
We do recommend replacing mercury fillings with tooth-colored composite for many reasons, the number one reason being the multiple health benefits of replacing them.
The final decision depends on the condition of your current filling and your overall health. For patients with overall health problems, especially with autoimmune disorders, their immune system is already challenged daily, so mercury fillings maybe just an additional factor putting unnecessary stress on overall health. If the filling is cracked or starting to break down you may want to consider a replacement. You can always choose to have the fillings replaced regardless of their condition to a stronger, healthier, and better looking composite material.
When my children come to the office I do not want them to have any Fluoride. Is that ok with your office?
The decision is ultimately up to you.
If I need a tooth extracted, what would be my replacement options if I don’t want metal? Lincoln, NE Biological dentist answers…
We could do a dental bridge or biocompatible partial. If you would like an implant, both Titanium and Zirconia are great bio-compatible replacement options. We typically would suggest the Zirconia option if you are worried about the metal content or allergies.
How do you treat infected teeth without a root canal?
Removal of the tooth could be necessary.
Do you use metal instruments?
Yes, Our instruments are coated in stainless steel.
Do you take out root canals?
Yes, We also work with an oral surgeon for complicated cases to assure the best experience for your tooth extraction.
Dr. Kathryn Alderman
This blog was written by Dr.Kathryn Alderman, your Biological Dentist practicing in Lincoln, NE.
Dr.Kathryn Alderman is a member of The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
Dr.Kathryn Alderman is a biological dentist, which is not the same as a holistic dentist. Biological dentists make decisions based on science facts while holistic dentists do not always consider the science facts. Dr.Kathryn Alderman is not a holistic dentist as her decisions in treating her patients based on scientific facts and the latest scientific research.