Dear patients.

We are happy to say that we are now open and operating under our full schedule.

COVID-19 has been a very difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care, and we deeply appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Your health and well-being continue to be our highest priority, and we opened with carefully planned and revised office procedures to greatly minimize the risk of infection for our patients and our team members. Our own families are also patients here, so you can be assured that we’ll be taking care of you just as well as we’ll be taking care of them.

For your peace of mind, the measures we are taking to provide a safe dental treatment experience include, but are not limited to, the following:

Upon Your Arrival at the Office

●     Patients will be screened BEFORE treatment and temperatures will be checked. Any patients showing signs of a fever or other symptoms of illness will be asked to reschedule their appointment.

●     ONLY patients will be allowed entry into the office. Parents and other family members will be asked to wait outside whenever possible.

●     Patients are asked to wait in their cars or outside the office until their scheduled appointment time.

●     The waiting area chairs will be spaced apart to allow for 6 feet of distancing.

●     We will ask that you continue to practice social distancing measures in common areas of the office, including the front desk.

●     The front door and the door between the waiting area and operatories will be propped open all day.

●     There will be no physical contact with patients with the exception of treatment.

During Treatment

●     All rooms will be COMPLETELY sterilized before each patient is seated, and public areas, including restrooms, will be cleaned and sterilized frequently throughout the day.

●     All operatories have high-volume air filtration and we have installed a whole office purification system. This system will kill the Covid virus along with other contaminates

●     Our team will STRICTLY follow guidelines set forth by the CDC, OSHA, and ADA in regards to personal protective equipment (PPE) and office sterilization.

●     During patient care, goggles or face shields will be worn by everyone and changed between patients.

●     All surfaces that came in contact with the patient will be wiped with disinfectant including the patient chair.

Checking Out After Your Appointment

●    We will be requesting prepayments when we know the amount of payment which will expidite your visit 

●     All efforts will be made to complete scheduling in the back of the office so you can leave without stopping at the front desk

We are proceeding with an abundance of caution, but we want you to feel as confident as we do that any visit you make to our office will be a safe one.

We also realize that many of you have been impacted financially during this outbreak, and we have solutions to keep dental care affordable for you and your family.

To discuss these payment options, schedule an appointment, or ask us any questions you may have about your next visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 757-473-8482

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Parr, Dr. Frey and the Smile Center Team

Are Amalgam Fillings Bad for You?

Metal amalgam has been widely used in dentistry for more than 150 years. Literally hundreds of millions of patients all over the world have had silver fillings placed in their teeth. In recent years, however, an increasing number of patients and dental professionals have begun to question the material's safety. These concerns are understandable since one of the primary ingredients of amalgam is the toxic element mercury. Many patients find themselves asking, "Are amalgam fillings bad for you?" A brief look at the existing facts can help clarify this issue.

Metal filling
Metal fillings are often recommended for the molars because the material is extremely strong and durable. 

What is Dental Amalgam?

The word "amalgam," by definition, refers to any metallic alloy that includes the element mercury. Amalgam dental filling material is made up of liquid mercury mixed with a finely powdered metal alloy containing silver, tin, and copper. The mercury, which acts as a type of binder, is mixed with the metal powder in the dental office, resulting in a putty-like consistency. Only minutes after it is placed, the material starts to harden. Within hours, it reaches its maximum strength. 

Amalgam has been a popular and effective method for filling dental cavities because of several benefits. The material is extremely strong and durable, even when subjected to extreme pressure. Metal fillings are also convenient and affordable.

Illustration of metal vs. white filling
Although metal fillings do not look as natural as composite restorations, some patients may choose the material for its durability.

Understanding the Effects of Mercury

Mercury is all around us. It exists in trace amounts in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. Levels can be especially high in fish harvested from polluted bodies of water. Over time, mercury from all these sources accumulates in our organs. If the levels become high enough, they can cause health problems. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include symptoms such as headaches, memory loss, irritability and anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

The FDA, ADA, and similar agencies have found insufficient evidence to support a correlation between metal fillings and adverse health effects.

Since dental amalgam contains a significant amount of mercury, it is logical to suspect that there is a potential risk. It is known that amalgam fillings are not completely inert: they release low levels of mercury vapor, and they contribute—albeit slightly—to mercury bioaccumulation in certain organs. Because of the concern over amalgam filling materials, scientists have conducted a great deal of research to evaluate the safety of metal fillings. 

The FDA and Other Agencies Weigh In

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recognized this public concern and decided to conduct an exhaustive review of all the studies relating to the safety of amalgam alloy fillings. The agency formally released their conclusions in a paper and addendum published in 2006 and 2009, respectively. The FDA concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support an "association between exposure to mercury from dental amalgams and adverse health effects in humans, including sensitive subpopulations."

This paper also recommended that as a precaution, dentists should avoid using amalgam in certain patients. These include children under the age of six, women who are pregnant, and patients who are otherwise exposed to mercury or who eat a large amount of seafood. Other agencies, including the American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Life Sciences Research Office (LSRO) later published similar opinions. This is an issue that the FDA and other organizations will continue to monitor.

Should Patients Have Their Amalgam Fillings Removed?

Some practitioners recommend the removal of all amalgam fillings because of their concerns about possible mercury poisoning. They then propose replacing them with an alternative material, such as composite resin, porcelain, or cast gold restorations.

Neither the FDA nor the ADA recommends this approach. Their consensus is that healthy, functional silver amalgam fillings should not be electively replaced. The process of removing these fillings can potentially expose the patient to additional mercury vapor that is released. Certain techniques and systems are recommended in order to safely perform this procedure. Most dentists will agree that the only valid reasons to remove an amalgam alloy filling include:

  • The restoration has become loose or otherwise defective
  • Decay has developed around the margins
  • The patient is believed to have developed an allergy or sensitivity to one of the metal components in the filling 

If replacement becomes necessary, patients should discuss the best material for their needs with their dentist.

Fillings Provide Long-Lasting Protection

Amalgam alloy is a safe, cost-effective, and durable dental filling material. It has been thoroughly tested during decades of use and scrutinized in a great number of scientific studies over the past several decades. Even though amalgam alloy restorations appear to pose no significant health hazards, some patients may still have reservations. Dentists should respect these concerns and thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of alternative materials, such as composite resin, with their patients.

The Smile Center

The Smile Center

The Smile Center in Virginia Beach has been providing high-quality dental care since 1988. We are proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Academy of Facial Esthetics
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about our services, contact us online or call (757) 473-8482 today.

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200 Grayson Rd
Ste 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

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