Ask The Dentist – November 2023

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Are Amalgam/Silver Fillings Any Good?

Amalgam fillings were and are still a good material despite the controversies surrounding them. However, all that being said, there is a shift away from amalgam fillings, and I haven’t even placed one in about a decade. There are more regulations that surround the placement and removal of amalgam, as they are an environmental hazard. Additionally, the newer generations of composite materials are much better than the earlier generations. While amalgam fillings are still a suitable material, I believe there are better materials that allow for more conservative designs, have better bonding, have fewer potential side effects, and are more socially and esthetically acceptable.

How Does a Sleep Appliance Work?

There are a few types of sleep appliances. However, the one that is most universally accepted is the mandibular advancement device (MAD). This device is anchored onto the upper and lower teeth and protrudes the lower jaw forward. A MAD opens up the airway and makes it more resistant to collapse. It’s a simple concept, but there are many nuances to reduce the downsides.

What Are Digital Impressions?

Digital impressions are a different and high-tech way of taking molds of your teeth and mouth. A specialized camera connected to a computer will take pictures and stitch them together into a 3D rendering of your mouth. The file can then be sent to a lab to make essentially anything needed – crowns, dentures, nightguards, etc. This device replaces the need for the traditional goopy materials that require the patient to bite and wait.

Are The Digital Impressions Any Good?

If you’ve been to an office with digital scanning technology, it’s very impressive. Many studies have shown that the digital impression method is just as accurate as the traditional way. Many patients like the digital version because it’s much cleaner and faster. A full mouth scan can be completed in a few minutes, and a partial scan even faster. The advantage is that it also removes some user errors that can occur that result in distortions and inaccurate impressions. However, a downside is that it requires technology, and while technology is fantastic, it can also have errors, such as corrupted files. However, many patients and dentists, including myself, can’t see going back to traditional analog impressions. 

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