THE TREAT­MENT TRYOUT

With so many clin­ics vy­ing for your at­ten­tion, know­ing Which health tests and treat­ments are Worth your dirhams can be dizzy­ing. this month, We ask Whether it’s time to re­move those old, and po­ten­tially danger­ous, me­tal amal­gam fill­ings…

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should you re­move me­tal amal­gam tooth fill­ings?

The Treat­ment:

Me­tal amal­gam fill­ing re­place­ment with laser den­tistry spe­cial­ist dr Sofia Aravopoulou

Who it’s for?

Any­one who has me­tal fill­ings that are more than five years old, or who is con­cerned by sug­ges­tions they pose a dan­ger to health – amal­gam fill­ings are now banned in Swe­den, den­mark and nor­way over fears the heavy met­als they con­tain, in­clud­ing mer­cury, could be car­cino­genic.

The con­sul­ta­tion:

i’m not a fan of the den­tist’s chair (is any­one?) but Sofia im­me­di­ately puts me at ease. dur­ing a half hour con­sul­ta­tion, she ex­plains that while the jury is still out over how se­ri­ous the risk posed by ex­ist­ing amal­gam is, the pro­to­col to re­move it is in­cred­i­bly strict as cut­ting into the fill­ing can re­lease mer­cury gases. This, she ex­plains, is the rea­son i am go­ing to be trussed up like i’m go­ing for ma­jor surgery be­fore the pro­ce­dure can be­gin.

Why then, i ask, do pa­tients choose to re­place amal­gam if re­moval is po­ten­tially riskier than leav­ing well alone? Partly, it’s aes­thet­ics, Sofia ad­mits. oth­er­wise, it’s due to health con­cerns linked to me­tal tox­i­c­ity. With many peo­ple these days go­ing the ex­tra mile to re­move tox­ins from their diet and lifestyle, it makes sense to re­move them from our mouths too, she rea­sons. Fur­ther­more, the amal­gam it­self can start to cor­rode af­ter just five years, be­com­ing un­sta­ble and in­creas­ing ex­po­sure risk. While i only have three fill­ings in to­tal, all done on the Bri­tish NHS be­fore i moved to dubai, my old­est was fit­ted when i was at univer­sity (whis­per it) 14 years ago. now i’m con­cerned.

The pro­ce­dure:

Af­ter an ini­tial look at my fill­ings (one of which is in­deed cor­roded), Sofia del­i­cately numbs the af­fected area of my mouth and starts to get me kit­ted up for the first re­moval. i’m dressed in a sur­gi­cal gown and two sur­gi­cal caps, a nose-cov­er­ing oxy­gen mask and pro­tec­tive gog­gles, and then my whole face, mouth aside, is cov­ered in damp tis­sue. She then uses a rub­ber dam to cover ev­ery­thing in my mouth bar the af­fected tooth. To say the ef­fect is claus­tro­pho­bic would be an un­der­state­ment, but with suc­tion firmly in place, the re­moval takes a mere two min­utes and is com­pletely pain­less. i can then re­move all of the sur­gi­cal para­pher­na­lia be­fore she fits a per­fect porce­lain re­place­ment. The lengthy pro­to­col means only one quad­rant of the mouth is treated at a time, so i am given an ap­point­ment to re­turn a week later for the re­main­ing re­place­ments.

The verdict:

My new fill­ings are per­fect, aes­thet­i­cally, i’m feel­ing pretty good about my smile and i’m re­as­sured to know the mer­cury is out of my mouth – par­tic­u­larly the cor­roded fill­ing that could have caused prob­lems. i’m also very im­pressed by Sofia’s de­ci­sion not to charge more for amal­gam re­moval, de­spite the ex­tra time in­volved, to en­sure pa­tients (and their in­surance com­pa­nies) aren’t put off re­plac­ing aged fill­ings. in this city, that’s pretty re­fresh­ing in­deed.

cost?

From dhs650 to dhs1,000 per tooth. di­rect billing and pay and claim are avail­able. Check your in­surance pol­icy for el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Euromed Clinic Cen­tre, Villa 611, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3945422. Taxi: Euromed Clinic, next to First Gulf Bank. eu­romed­clin­ic­dubai.com

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