Before reading these questions for your dentist, the IAOMT strongly recommends visiting our How to Talk to Your Dentist page.

After you know how to talk to your dentist, you might consider asking questions such as the following:

What is your position on the mercury issue? How much knowledge do you possess about mercury?

If a dentist is knowledgeable about the mercury issue and understands mercury biochemistry, it is likely they will take biological dentistry or the removal process seriously. Be concerned if you hear, “I don’t think the mercury in fillings is a big deal, but I’ll take it out if you like.” This is probably a dentist that isn’t very concerned about IAOMT’s recommendations for safety measures.

What precautions do you take to safely remove dental amalgam mercury fillings?

Be aware that traditional safe amalgam removal techniques include the use of masks, water irrigation, and high volume suction.  However, the IAOMT’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) supplements these conventional strategies with a number of additional protective measures, the need for which have only recently been identified in scientific research.  Patients are encouraged to utilize the IAOMT’s SMART Checklist with their dentists to make sure that both parties agree upon which precautions will be used.  The SMART Checklist also helps patients to identify whether a dentist is aware of the most up-to-date removal recommendations.

What is your understanding of biocompatibility and biological dentistry?

Remember that “Biological” or “Biocompatible” dentistry typically refers to dental practices that utilize mercury-free and mercury-safe dentistry while also considering the impact of dental conditions, devices, and treatments on oral and systemic health, including the biocompatibility of dental materials and techniques.  This means that a dentist knowledgeable about biological dentistry will have a detailed answer in regards to “biocompatibility” which is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “compatibility with living tissue or a living system by not being toxic, injurious, or physiologically reactive and not causing immunological rejection.”

What is your experience in working with patients who ___________?

This is your opportunity to find out whether the dentist has expertise in whatever area you are concerned about or interested in.  In other words, you can fill-in-the-blank in the question above to relate to your unique patient needs.  Some examples that dentists have heard before include: patients who are pregnant, patients who want to become pregnant, patients who are breastfeeding, patients who are allergic to eugenol, patients who are having an issue with a root canal, patients with periodontal disease, patients with claustrophobia, patients with multiple sclerosis, etc.  Based on the dentist’s previous experiences or willingness to learn, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you feel comfortable about being a patient of that particular dentist.

How do you utilize patient informed consent?

As a patient, you reserve (and deserve!) the right to be informed about the materials and procedures that will be used during your appointments.  So, it is essential to make sure that your dentist will provide you with informed consent (which is basically patient permission for a health professional to use a certain material or procedure).  Properly designed informed consent forms carefully explain what the potential benefits, potential harms, and alternatives to the material/procedure are.

How do you stay current on new research and developments related to dentistry, oral health, and overall health?

You want to make sure that your dentist is actively involved in learning about the latest developments in dentistry, medicine, and health care.  This means that the dentist reads a variety of research articles, attends professional conferences and meetings, is a member of professional groups, and/or communicates with other dental and medical professionals on a regular basis.

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