Teeth Question

Good Afternoon Dr. Ellie,

I know it is impossible to give an exact diagnosis with out looking at x-rays but I wanted to see if you would be able to give your opinion on this situation.  The background information is that I go to the dentist every six months.  At my last check-up I was told that there were a couple ( two I believe but it may have been more) areas of concern between my teeth.  I had not been as vigilant about flossing as I should have been.  My dentist and I discussed using ACT, flossing at least once a day, chewing gum when I snack between brushing and revisiting the areas at my next  appointment.  Since then, I had a quick exam through the military reserves in June where they took x-rays (which included the areas of concern).  I was not seen by my normal civilian Dentist but the X-rays and Pano were reviewed by a military Dentist who then did an exam and said things looked fine and to keep up with my oral hygeine habits.

Today, I went for my six month check up at my regular dental office.  The Dentist I normally see was not there so another Dentist did my eval.  My insurance only covers x-rays once a year so she looked at the ones that were taken six months ago when my normal dentist set up the plan to re-mineralize.  She said I needed six fillings between my teeth.  I found this concerning since the other two Dentists I saw did not recommend anything this severe and her treatment play was being made off a six month old x-ray.  After, she discussed whitening my teeth, which in my opinion, is not a big concern as my teeth are not very stained.  The reason I wanted to see how you felt about this situation is that I don’t want to delay getting a filling too long if there is a large chance of it getting very bad and causing a lot of damage (needing a root canal, etc.).  On the other hand, I don’t want to excessively fill my teeth if I can just work at re-mineralizing these areas (as I have been trying to do) and change the problems that caused this initially.  The cost of this is concerning as well, since I am currently in school, but ultimately I would do whatever is healthiest for my body.  

My last questions is about amalgam.  I don’t know if you have covered this before but do you feel the mercury in silver fillings in dangerous and should be avoided if,  in fact, I do need to get these teeth filled?

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my question.  I really appreciate what you do!

 – A

Dear A: 


I hope I’m not too late in getting back to you. 
I’ve been away and out of the country and didn’t really have a chance to follow up on some e-mails. Areas between teeth are usually easily re-mineralized. Of course you must use the right products.

It should take about six months if you are conscientious and my regimen is exactly what you need for re-mineralization. 
You need the combination of rinses that I recommend along with frequent (and that means 5 to 7 times a day) small exposures to xylitol.

Areas that are de-mineralized between teeth are not usually the result not of poor flossing but of mouth acidity or mouth dryness. 
It’s often seen when people start taking a new medication, of have new braces which make the mouth drier, or when someone has allergies or a blocked nose.

The other times that we see this kind of damage is when someone is constantly sipping acidic drinks almost any drink diet or sugary, juices or lemonade. 
You mentioned you are in the military so added stress can impact mouth acidity also. I cannot get between you and your dentist with advice.You are correct that without x-rays I cannot diagnose. 

But you also mentioned wanting to do the healthiest thing for your body. 
I think it is confusing that you have had three different diagnoses within the year. It’s unfortunate that dentists are not paid for wellness because I think we would see less fillings if that were so. Research shows that over 60% of fillings are unnecessary and I think that is a conservative estimate.

It is important that you stop this damaged, but home care with the mouth rinses I recommend used twice a day and frequent exposure to xylitol will stop the area getting worse and should repair the damaged areas within six months. It is the combination of xylitol and dilute fluoride in the rinses that will speed the healing and take care of these.

I can’t comprehend the idea of whitening somebody’s teeth when they already have damage that is an outrageous suggestion. Remember there is no filling that is “healthy” not healthier than reversing the damage and having no filling at all. I would hate to think you are having silver amalgam fillings placed. I would also be upset with white fillings, especially if they were not necessary. The plastic in a white filling can leach out and cause problems. I am in a difficult position trying not to diagnose but if this were me, I would spend at least six months trying to reverse these problems.

If you’re worried about expenses, I would wait until I can have another free x-ray and see what that says
being diligent in the meantime. Please let me know if you have any questions about accessing the mouth rinses or the technique. YOU MUST use each of the items exactly to get quick and effective results.
Best Wishes,
Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
author, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye
26, Corporate Woods, Rochester NY 14623

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