Baby Boomers Take Note; The Tooth Fairy is Coming and She Isn't Happy With Our Silver Fillings

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Silver amalgam fillings for teeth that were done prior to the mid-1980s are now cracking and causing damage to molars, that can lead to the need for a root canal if left untreated.

Dr. Javad Aghaloo sees it all the time: cracked and fractured molars caused by silver amalgam fillings that we got prior to the mid-1980s.

The bigger the filling, the more likely an "incomplete" or "complete" fracture will occur due to silver's ability to expand or contract. The prognosis, when addressed quickly, is a crown. Or in lesser cases of complete fractures -- patients are often faced with the dreaded root canal.

Dr. Javad of Bankers Hill Dental says he sees up to three patients a day with fractured molars or those seemingly innocuous cracks that will inevitably lead to unexpected breaks. The usual culprit in either case: silver fillings that are 20-plus years old.

An intra-oral camera that Dr. Javad and many other dentists now use give patients an up-close look at the insidious fault lines running along our silver-filled molars, which can sit dormant for several months before causing breakage.

"A lot of times, an actual break won't cause pain, but when let go, they'll develop a cavity that can eventually lead to a root canal. Yet if the tooth breaks down to the root, then an extraction is needed because we can't do a root canal at that point," he says.

The cameras serve as a viable preventative for worse case scenarios because they allow dentists to show patients that a problem is clearly occurring as testimony for recommending crowns.

"Baby boomers with fillings all have silver amalgams from the 1960s and 1970s as opposed to today's composite fillings, which bond well to an existing tooth. Unfortunately, cracked or fractured teeth from silver fillings only stand to get worse if they aren't addressed," he adds.

Dr. Javad can demonstrate for media the intra-oral camera on patients with cracked molars and also supply high-resolution photographs of the condition. To arrange an interview or demonstration, call 619-543-9544 or visit his website http://www.bankershilldental.com

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VICTORIA GARCIA

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