Month: September 2016

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

Kenny Hackett, Communications Director –West Paces Ferry Orthodontics

By:  Kenny Hackett

As the communications director of West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, it is my responsibility to manage our blog and social media presence.  Part of that job includes reviewing and vetting articles a service sends to me to possibly share with you, our audience.  Yesterday I was sent an article on a controversial subject.  The safety of Amalgam fillings.  The article shared an opinion that is in opposition to my own, but as the editor in chief of our publication efforts, I try to be open minded to views other than my own.  My hope was that a colleague would address the article and a dialog would result, and my further intention was to post an article today expressing the opposing view.  I was not disappointed.  I decided to take today’s response a step further by writing an editorial regarding the safety of amalgam myself.

Dr. Nanci Lubell, The Right Smile Center. Picture courtesy of

Dr. Nancy Lubell, of The Right Smile Center, had this to say on the subject  “Amalgam has been tested by numerous organizations over the decades and not one well executed scientific study done by dental, MS, Alzheimers, WHO, FDA, or other organizations has been able to link amalgam to the wide array of diseases, disorders, symptoms, etc., claimed to be caused by it. I have not placed an amalgam in over a decade, but not because of mercury.’  Dr. Lubell continued, “Before dentists wore gloves and masks, there was no higher incidence in any of these conditions among dentists vs. the general population. Mercury vapor is highest at placement and removal of amalgams. It would be logical to assume those of us who breathed this all day before masks would be affected. I don’t argue with patients who request that their amalgams be replaced, but I don’t perpetuate this sensationalism.”

Further research found that the American Dental Association held that “Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.”

An amalgam filling commonly referred to as a “silver” filling.

No one is disputing that Mercury is an ingredient in amalgam, but one must understand that is not dangerous as the mercury in amalgam is what scientist refer to as a bound chemical. explains: “Mercury is a component of the amalgam used for “silver” fillings. The other major ingredients are silver, tin, copper, and zinc. When mixed, these elements bond to form a strong, stable substance. The difference between bound and unbound chemicals can be illustrated by a simple analogy. Elemental hydrogen is an explosive gas. Elemental oxygen is a gas that supports combustion. When combined, however, they form water, which has neither of these effects. Amalgam’s ingredients are tightly bonded to each other. Although the types of chemical bonds in water and amalgam differ, saying that amalgam will poison you is just as wrong as saying that drinking water will make you explode and burst into flames.”

The conclusion I have come to after looking at the information available on this subject is that your best and safest course of action with this and other issues regarding your teeth and your health is to ask your dentist!  There is so much information available on the internet that it becomes tough to divine truth from fiction.  Your dentist, on the other hand, has very specialized and thorough education regarding your health.  When in doubt ask your dentist!  We are always happy to answer your questions at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics!  Are there any dental topics you have that you would like us to look into?  Ask us in the comment section!

Sweet Auburn Music Festival

Sweet Auburn Music Festival


Niecy Harris

By: Niecy Harris


If you are looking for something to do this weekend, you should go to the Sweet Auburn Music Festival. The Sweet Auburn Music Fest is an annual event, and it is full of music, food, and fun. There will be two days of non-stop music from nationally known artists, and local artists that are performing alternative, R&B, Gospel and Rap/Hip-Hop genres. What I love about this event is that it is FREE for everyone and that it is a family event. Yes, you can bring your children. The kids can participate in scheduled fun activities that are free and some that have a fee. Take a stroll into the car and bike show to see some of the most beautiful cars. Grady Health System is offering FREE health screenings in their pavilion area with lots of information available. Or you can visit the Ford Experience and test drive the latest model vehicles, and you might have a chance to win one!

Picture Courtesy of The Sweet Auburn Music Festival.
Picture courtesy of The Sweet Auburn Music Festival.

With everything there are a few rules, you can’t bring coolers into the event because there will be an array of food truckers and vendors with reasonable priced food and drink available to purchase. They are encouraging you to support small businesses here in Atlanta. There is a no pet rule, but it only applies to large breeds. If your dog is small enough for you to carry them, they are permitted. The Sweet Auburn Music Fest is a great opportunity to hang out with friends and family and enjoy the culture of Atlanta. Festival organizers suggest that you take MARTA to Five Points Station or Peachtree Station and ride the Street Car down to the festivities.  I hope to see you there!  If you attend be sure to tag #wportho in your pictures so we can enjoy them!

Can Straightening Your Teeth Improve Your Posture?

Can Straightening Your Teeth Improve Your Posture?


Kenny Hackett, Communications Director – West Paces Ferry Orthodontics

By: Kenny Hackett, Communications Director


There are many obvious benefits of straight teeth.  Better chewing, a more esthetic smile, and better oral hygiene are well-known benefits of properly aligned teeth.   A new study from both the University Barcelona in Spain and the University of Innsbruck in Austria show that our posture and balance are also affected by the relationship of our upper and lower jaws while biting.  The alignment of our jaws when we bite is called our occlusion.  When there is a misalignment of the occlusion, it is known as a malocclusion.

Sonia Julia, a researcher from the University of Barcelona, states ” Postural control is the result of a complex system that includes different sensory and motor elements arising from visual, somatosensory — denoting a sensation such as pressure, pain, or warmth — and vestibular information — regarding motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation.  Malocclusion has also been associated with different motor and physiological alterations, especially when people were fatigued.  But postural control was shown to improve — both in static and dynamic equilibrium — when different malocclusions are corrected by positioning the jaw in a neutral position.”

She continued “This relationship can play a crucial role in athletes in how well they ultimately perform as well as in the prevention of injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures caused by unexpected instability as fatigue increases and motor control capacity decreases.”

Picture courtesy of CBC News.
Picture courtesy of CBC News.

“Therefore, it would be helpful for both the general population and athletes to consider correcting dental occlusions to improve postural control and thus prevent possible falls and instability due to a lack of motor system response,” she concluded.

Orthodontists specialize in the occlusion and correcting malocclusions.  If you feel like your bite may be misaligned you should schedule a complimentary consultation with experts such as Dr. Paul Yurfest and Dr. Kristin Huber of West Paces Ferry Orthodontics.

Did You Know You Can Get Scars On Your Teeth?

Did You Know You Can Get Scars On Your Teeth?

decalcification marksreneeprofpic

By: Renee Hartz, Treatment Director

Decalcification marks are a common occurrence when venturing into the orthodontic world.

Here at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, we provide a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste.  This toothpaste helps fight against these decalcification marks. Many people will blame the braces and say that the braces have caused these marks. This idea is not true!

Once the braces go on, the teeth are at higher risk for these decalcification marks. Braces DO NOT cause these white scars. Lack of proper brushing and not getting the toothbrush on the teeth is what causes the scars to occur.

Plaque built up on a patients teeth and braces. picture courtesy of
Plaque built up on a patients teeth and braces. picture courtesy of

Once these marks set into the teeth, they are there; that is why they are scars. The prescription strength fluoride toothpaste helps prevent these decalcification marks from occurring.

At West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, we take the extra step to teach proper brushing techniques. These educational tips ensure that our patients leave with only a beautiful smile- without scars caused by decalcification.  Schedule your complimentary consultation with West Paces Ferry Orthodontics.  Ensure you receive the best care from the experts!

Teeth after braces with good oral hygiene. Picture courtesy of Maximum Living.
Teeth after braces with good oral hygiene. Picture courtesy of Maximum Living.
The iTero Element Laser Scanner

The iTero Element Laser Scanner

New technology at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics

By: Kenny Hackett

The iTero Element is the newest piece of technology at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics.  It is a digital laser scanner used to provide Invisalign with an accurate model of the mouth.  The machine uses laser light to read the surface of the teeth and then recreates a virtual model of these teeth.

Orthodontic Technician Michele scanning a patient for Invisalign with the iTero Element.
Orthodontic Technician Michele scanning a patient for Invisalign with the iTero Element.

“As of March 2016, iTero scans have been used in more than 2.7 million iTero orthodontic scans, including more than 1 million Invisalign® scans.”According to the iTero website.  The scanner is more accurate than the older model and the scans also take half the time.

For a patient, this means getting in and out faster and having a lower chance of needing a second scan.  West Paces Ferry Orthodontics was so impressed with how much the machines improved the patient experience that we bought two of them!  Visit to request an appointment today and experience the latest technology available to orthodontic patients!


Why I love to volunteer

Why I love to volunteer


By: Paul Yurfest, DDS
I have been in Orthodontic practice over the last 41 years and have had a lot of time to help people while doing what I like to do.

I provide free orthodontics to families who have no means to pay for the service. It’s a lot of fun! I have been doing
ing that since 1975 at the Ben Massell Free Dental Clinic in downtown Atlanta. As part of the JFC&S and United Way organizations, the clinic helps many varied members of the Atlanta community. Helping people is rewarding!

Photo Courtesy of The Ben Masell Dental Clinic.
Photo Courtesy of The Ben Masell Dental Clinic.

Getting into an activity other than Orthodontics has great appeal to me as well. I love gardening, and I love helping people! When I decided to become a Georgia Master Gardener, I did not know I would be combining both gardening and volunteering together!

The Georgia Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Georgia has an office in many of Georgia’s counties. This office is where homeowners or businesses can contact an agent to have questions related to gardening answered.

Photo courtesy of The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program.

As a Master Gardener, I volunteer there to answer the questions of many homeowners related to their lawns and gardens. Also, I help teach gardening at Farm Chastain, a small farm in the center of the North Fulton Course at Chastain Park!

The doctors and staff of West Paces Ferry Orthodontics are involved in many types of volunteer activities-  all to help make Atlanta a better place!

If you are thinking of volunteering or are currently volunteering,  share your thoughts in the comments!