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10 Things Your Dentist Won't Tell You - Fact or Fiction?

Are Dentists Keeping Secrets?


Updated: March 9, 2007

Photo by Bob Smith

The April 2006 issue of Smart Money magazine contains an article, written by William Mauldin, that has recently become the target of major controversy from dentists all over the country as well as the American Dental Association.

The article, “10 Things Your Dentist Won't Tell You” recently appeared on SmartMoney.com as well as AOL.com’s major news and features. It has been said by many to be completely one sided and filled with half truths.

When I first read this article, I assumed it was a joke. In my opinion, it was so far from the truth that I just assumed the writer was either bored or looking for attention. With the controversy that this article provoked, I had to seriously come to grips with the fact that AOL and Smart Money magazine must not have read it before they published it.

In the article, Mr. Mauldin writes, “You really don't need to see me every six months." This is the one statement where he is actually correct. What amazes me is that the author actually thinks that this is a secret. Anyone with common sense knows that there are not two mouths exactly alike.

People at a greater risk for oral diseases should have dental check ups more than twice a year. Tobacco and alcohol use, diabetes, pregnancy, periodontal and gum disease, poor oral hygiene and certain medical conditions are some of the many factors that your dentist takes into consideration when deciding how often you need your dental cleaning and check up. Unfortunately, dental insurance companies will usually only pay for check ups twice a year, or every 6 months.

Top 10 Reasons to Have a Dental Cleaning

Mr. Mauldin goes on to say, "Those old metal fillings of yours may be leaking toxic waste." In a recent letter written to the editor of Smart Money magazine, Dr. Robert Brandjord, president of the American Dental Association, states, “Dental materials experts say it would take almost 500 amalgam fillings in a mouth to see the subtlest symptoms in the most sensitive person.”

FACT: More than 70 percent of all fillings today are placed with resin or composite materials. Amalgam has been supported as being safe by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the FDA and the US Public Health Service.

Silver Vs. White Dental Fillings

It is also suggested by the author that many dentists won’t buy digital radiograph equipment because of the cost. Not true. A radiograph film shows much more detail than a digital image. By the way, Mr. Mauldin received this information from a Kodak salesman for dental imaging equipment. Enough said.

When Mr. Mauldin wrote, "Did I mention that we'll need to do this again in a few years?" he doesn’t take into account that many dental insurance companies will pay to replace crowns every 5 - 7 years, although most crowns will last a lot longer. Unfortunately, dental work does not last forever. Neither will the tires on my car, but if I have regular maintenance check ups, they will last a lot longer and potential problems can be detected early.

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