The New Age of Dentistry
Jan 02, 2014 09:37PM
● By Dr. Juliet S. Bulnes, DMD
Amalgam has been the most widely used tooth filling material for decades. It has been popular because it is strong, lasting, and low-cost. Amalgam is considered a "medical device" and is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It contains roughly 50 percent elemental mercury and 50 percent other materials (mostly silver, tin and copper). The mercury found in amalgam fillings has raised some safety concerns over the years. Amalgam can release small amounts of mercury vapor over time, and it is possible that patients can absorb these vapors by inhaling or ingesting them.
It is commonly known the FDA strongly recommends that pregnant and nursing women limit or cease their intake of certain seafoods which contain high levels of mercury as a precautionary step in protecting their fetus and infants. This is also true for individuals who may have health conditions that make them more sensitive to mercury exposure. People who are concerned about their exposure to elemental mercury should contact their physician.
In dentistry, there are alternative restorative materials available to properly restore teeth. No longer is amalgam the standard of care. Other types of restorative materials available include resin composite, glass or resin ionomers, porcelain, and gold alloys. Each type of material has advantages and disadvantages, and often the choice of material used is based on the expertise of the dental professional. It is important to discuss dental treatment options with your health care provider.
Westchase Esthetic Dentistry is a mercury-free practice. They thoroughly discuss treatment alternatives with their patients to provide the highest quality care in a comfortable way. In addition, they follow strict guidelines for safe mercury removal. Dental insurance most often covers these types of restorative needs, and Westchase accepts most insurance plans.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea has become more prevalent in the last decade. Apnea, or cessation of breathing, occurs due to an obstruction in the airway. The main obstruction is the tongue. Without oxygen, the body will not function properly, with possibly even death. We can go three weeks without food, three days without water, but only three minutes without oxygen! More physicians are diagnosing and treating patients with OSA than ever before. Today, dentists are a key player in helping assess at-risk patients, and treating those who are intolerant to CPAP machines. In 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine changed their practice parameters, stating that a dental device, fabricated by a dentist trained in sleep medicine, is sufficient treatment for patients who suffer from mild to moderate OSA.
Dr. Juliet S. Bulnes, DMD is a specialist in dental sleep medicine, and is part of Dental Sleep Solutions. She works with pulmonologists, cardiologists, ENTs, internal medicine physicians, and alternative health care practitioners to help their patients successfully treat OSA. She is specially trained to fabricate dental devices which often can replace the need for CPAP therapy. In addition, these devices are covered by MEDICAL insurance.
At Westchase Esthetic Family Dentistry, they take care of their patients’ insurance needs to provide the dental devices to treat this progressive disease without the financial burden of paying upfront out of pocket. If you think you could be at risk for airway problems, it is important to contact your healthcare practitioner.
Originally from Illinois, Dr. Bulnes attended Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a BA in Anthropology, with a focus in Human Evolution. She earned her Dental degree at Southern Illinois University and continued her Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the University of Florida. She is a cancer survivor, and an avid triathlete. Her passion for overall wellness drives her to care for her patients the same way. She has been practicing Dentistry at Westchase for almost 12 years, and lives in Carrollwood with her two beautiful children.
Westchase Esthetic Family Dentistry is located at 10810 Sheldon Road, Tampa, 813-792-8211. See ad page 5.