Dental Care: Dentists Justify Placing Amalgam

Dental Care: Dentists Justify Placing AmalgamDental news articles have reported a reduction in the use of amalgam for dental care by dentists over the past 20 years with new restorative techniques.

In the past, The Wealthy Dentist surveys have consistently shown dentists split on the topic of placing amalgam, with about half of dentists remaining loyal to placing amalgam fillings.

In our most recent survey the amalgam dental care trend holds steady with 58% of dentists responding that they still place amalgam.

“Amalgam is still a great restoration,” said one dentist, “and a good service for the patient.”

How frequently dentists place amalgam varies widely —

27% place multiple amalgams per day, or over 300 per year.
12% place about 10 amalgams per year.
8% place about 1 amalgam per day, or at least 200 per year.
6% place 1 amalgam per week, or 50 per year.
5% place 2 amalgams per week, or about 100 per year.

Dental Care: How Frequently Dentists Place Amalgam

Here are some further dentist comments–

Support placing amalgam:

“It’s easier to work with amalgam versus composite on posterior teeth.” (Arizona dentist)

“A well-placed amalgam can be the difference for a patient who has financial concerns and cannot afford a casting or resin.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“I offer it for patient’s finances and in difficult areas.” (South Carolina dentist)

“Amalgam is an efficient, cost effective, long lasting restoration if done correctly.” (Massachusetts dentist)

“I certainly place more composites and all-ceramic inlays and onlays when it is necessary. Amalgams are good restorations for non-visible/non-esthetic areas and when the restoration will be small. We allow the patient to decide amalgam or composite in that situation. Sometimes they tell us their financial situation dictates amalgam over composite.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“I live in rural America and crowns are not financially feasible for many; so I shovel a lot of alloy!” (Wisconsin dentist)

“It’s the best restorative material to use in some instances.” (Tennessee dentist)

“The most inexpensive restorative material- coefficient of thermal expansion close to tooth structure is key to why it lasts so long compared to composite resin; ease of placement and manipulation is best of all direct restorative materials.” (Indiana dentist)

“They last and last and last!” (Texas dentist)

Against placing amalgam:

“Why would I place amalgams in people’s teeth when I can’t throw them down the drain. It seems that fish get more protection than humans.” (General dentist)

“My thoughts about all things that go into the body are: If there is a question about the safety of a product — don’t use it. I hear many questions about the safety of amalgams. There are other dental care products I can use until the questions are answered.” (Texas dentist)

“Amalgams cause the teeth to fracture.” (California dentist)

“I stopped altogether in 1995 when resins became usable as a replacement. Primary reason was I feared a potential class action type suit against any dentist using the material. Pretty pathetic but in this litigious society you have to CYA.” (New Jersey dentist)

“I wouldn’t put it in my dog! I can’t throw it in the garbage legally, but I can place it in your mouth?” (New York dentist)

“We have better materials. We don’t need to use a restorative that was developed in the 1890’s just because it’s easier and cheaper. If it were introduced as a new material today it would never make it or even be allowed. It just doesn’t make sense to use it. Yes, they mostly last “forever,” but at the expense of the tooth.” (General dentist)

“If the scraps are a danger to my assistant, how can I justify placing one in anybody’s mouth?” (California dentist)

“Interesting that the government has rules on the collection and disposal of amalgam as a hazardous waste from the dental suction system BUT feels there is no problem placing the material in someone’s mouth??? Go figure!” (Connecticut dentist)

“I don’t place them, and haven’t since the beginning of my career. However, it’s not because I think they are inferior or toxic. On the contrary, I believe amalgam is a great material. It’s just that composite is a great material when placed properly, AND it looks better.” (Texas dentist)

The ADA states that dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable material containing a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance for dental care.

Dentist Continuing Education May Cure Dental Burnout Symptoms (video)

Dentist Continuing Education May Cure Dental Burnout SymptomsEveryone feels burnout now and then, but dentists are especially at risk for professional burnout.

Said one dentist, “Burnout to me is manly the result of the negative light in which most dental patients view the dental office experience.”

Another dentist advised, “Taking continuing education to learn and improve techniques rejuvenates my practice. It keeps me fresh!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have ever suffered from professional burnout in their dental careers.

Click on Play to watch the video to hear more of  what dentists have to say about burnout

What do you do to avoid professional burnout?

Dental Braces: Are General Dentists Capable of Straightening Teeth? (video)

Dental Braces: Why Many General Dentists Prefer to Do Braces (video)Straight teeth are hugely desirable in our culture, but who is the right doctor to straighten a dental patient’s teeth with braces?

An orthodontist or a general dentist?

One general dentist, who refers out all orthodontia cases said, “I believe that only a good orthodontist can get really good, long-lasting results.”

Another general dentist, who refers out very few cases said, “I do all my own orthodontics and I believe the average general dentist is fully capable.  It’s just that at dental school it is instilled in us to refer and not touch it!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists what percentage of orthodontic patients they refer out.

To hear the results of the survey and how dentists responded, Click on Play —

What are your thoughts on general dentists placing braces?

Dentists Say Electric Toothbrush No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

Is the electric toothbrush all hype?

The NZ Herald surveyed a group of independent dentists and found that many dentists are uncomfortable with their profession’s relationship with some dental products and their marketing companies.

One product endorsement that seemed to bother the dentists the most is in the area of electronic toothbrushes.

According to the Herald, dentists were split 50-50 about whether an electric toothbrush gave a better clean. The dentists who support manual toothbrushes felt that brushing is about how well someone brushes — not the toothpaste or toothbrush used.

In other words, any type of toothbrush is only as good as the person who is using it.  Overall, many dentists felt there wasn’t a bigger advantage to using one type of toothbrush over another.

So why endorse the more expensive electric toothbrush?

Some dentists feel product endorsements arise from the close relationships between dental associations and dental product manufacturers.  In the Herald survey, several dentists broke ranks with the professional associations – one of which receives sponsorship from Oral-B – to speak out and say that the clean provided by an electric toothbrush is no better than a manual toothbrush.

Both the New Zealand Dental Association and the New Zealand Dental Therapists Association declined to comment on the survey.

What do you say?  What type of toothbrush do you advise your patients to use?

For more on this story read: Electric brush: tooth or fiction

Dentists: Are Dental Hygienists Worth Their Weight in Gold?(video)

Dentists: Are Dental Hygienists Worth Their Weight in Gold?(video)In our story, Dental Hygienists Among the Fastest Growing Occupations in the U.S. we revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for 2008-2018 expects the demand to hire more hygienists to perform preventive dental care will continue to grow.

According to the ADA, independent dentists reported paying full-time dental hygienists $33.90 per hour in 2008.

Considering the current economic environment The Wealthy Dentist decided to conduct a survey asking dentists if they pay their hygienists an hourly wage or if compensation is based on commission.

It seems most dentists still pay their dental hygienists an hourly wage, but some feel paying on commission is more fair. Said one dentist, “Hygienists are worth their weight in gold!” Another dentist disagreed saying, “Practices couldn’t run without them, but the current economics barely breaks even at best … hygienists seem to think they are cash cows for the office and fail to recognize the support and facilities the utilize.”

It’s an interesting economic issue. Click on Play to hear more of what dentists say about paying hygienists —

How do you pay the hygienist in your practice?

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