Archive for October 2009

….the amalgam controversy…con’t…

October 29, 2009
HR 648….Go ahead, and make my day….

Your Smile Should Last Forever

Representative Diane Watson (D-Ca) did it again. The bill advances the misconception that silver amalgam, which contains mercury, is toxic. It isn’t, because the mercury is bound, chemically, to the silver. The bill specifically misstates the facts. And unless you heat the filling–like in a crematorium–you can’t get the mercury back out. The resolution, which has no active action, essentially condemns the use of dental amalgam, claiming that these dental fillings cause just about every problem under the sun. This debate–that your silver fillings will cause all sorts of problems– is over 30 years old. The only problem is that the evidence says the fillings are safe, effective, and cheaper than just about every other material used in dentistry. Silver filling use in dentistry has been on the decline for the last 25 years, and is currently being replaced by resin fillings. So the amalgam debate is mostly a moot point. The rise of esthetic dentistry–fillings that are the same color as your teeth–has had the effect of quieting much of the banter from the “anti-amalgamists”. But there’s still a lot of silver filling out there.  This bill, if passed, will add fire to the fear that some patients develop, running to their dentists asking for the silver to be removed for fear of health problems. I find it curious that the dental profession, which has everything to gain by creating fear concerning silver amalgam fillings, has consistently defended amalgam, and avoided the financial windfall that would be associated with everyone wanting their silver fillings removed en mass.  When ever a patient tries to make the point that dentists “love” amalgam, I always say, “Go ahead, make it illegal and you make my day, financially.  It’s my conscience that prevents me from jumping in and promoting the fear.  And I’m far from alone.   It really is dentistry’s finest hour.

Dr. Giacopuzzi

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Why Conscious Sedation?

October 22, 2009

Your Smile Should Last Forever

Your Smile Should Last Forever

Why Conscious Sedation?

For the comfort of our patients, Dr. Giacopuzzi offers intravenous conscious sedation. There are several situations for which sedation is appropriate…

  • Apprehension: Sedation is ideal for fearful patients. Many patients are fearful of procedures like root canals or periodontal surgery. Once sedated, virtually all fear diminishes, making the procedure easier for the patient to tolerate and for the doctor to accomplish.
  • Long Procedures: Bridge preparations and molar root canal treatments are particularly time consuming. To condense time and make the patient feel that a 3 hour procedure took only 45 minutes – sedation can be the answer. Why leave the dentist’s chair exhausted when you can leave relaxed, calm and rested?
  • Medically Compromised: Patients with heart trouble, high blood pressure, and other systemic problems can benefit from conscious sedation. Because some dental procedures cause stress by their very nature, sedation is ideal for these patients.

What is Sedation?

Sedation consists of several medications which are given intravenously in your arm. It takes about 15 minutes to give the medications. The sedation is given slowly and “tailored” to your physiology. Once given, the effects last at a number of hours, allowing dental procedures to be performed during a “four hour window”. You are not “put to sleep” but rather you are “brought down” to a point where you are still conscious, responding to commands, sleepy, but arousable. Most patients are unable to remember all the procedure. We still use local anesthetics, as well. Virtually any type of dentistry may be performed with sedation.

PreparationWe ask the following of individuals who want to take advantage of sedation.

  • Dress – Wear loose upper body clothing with short sleeves. Rest assured we will provide blankets as need to assure your comfort.

  • Food – Fasting is not necessary but we recommend that you have a light meal before your appointment. This is important. If you have not eaten, you may experience increased apprehension.

  • Medication – Always make the doctor aware of all the mediations that you are taking, even non-prescriptions drugs. Please do not “pre-medicate” yourself with alcohol or other drugs. On occasion, the doctor will prescribe a medication to take before your appointment.

  • Transportation – You will not be able to drive after your treatment. You will need to arrange transportation home.
  • After Care – You will probably wish to sleep after your sedation appointment. Do not schedule any responsibilities for at least 6 hours after your appointment. While you can be left alone, we usually advise to have someone with you following your appointment.

-Dr. Guy G. Giacopuzzi, DDS