Category Archives: Phoenix Dentist

Is My Root Canal Linked to My Cancer?

Hi there,

I am in remission from a bout with cancer, and trying desperately to stay that way. I recently learned that getting root canals can be linked to cancer. A documentary I saw recommended extraction instead of saving the tooth via root canal treatment. I had a root canal about 10 years ago, and am now terrified it may cause my cancer to come back. Will  a dentist be willing to remove the tooth? Should I have opted for an extraction over a root canal back then? Honestly, I would feel better with it out at this point.

Zarya, from St. Petersburg, FL


Hi Zarya,

You probably could find a dentist to remove the tooth. However, the dentist would likely be doing it to calm your nerves, not because it is  a cancerous ticking time bomb. A general dentist can do the procedure, or you can look for a holistic dentist in your area. A holistic dentist takes your entire body’s health into consideration when recommending treatment.

The documentary you saw may have been focused more on fear-mongering than accuracy. As you probably learned,  teeth requiring root canals have bacteria present. A root canal removes the bacteria, and seals the tooth, so it cannot become filled with bacteria again. More recent studies show that patients who receive root canals are healthier, and even at a lower risk of cancers. The documentary you saw likely referenced an old, outdated study that has not been replicated, yet is still causing panic and worry.

Good oral health is linked to good heart health, so taking care of your teeth is necessary to a healthy body. Being concerned about your oral health is important to keeping your body healthy. However, you do not need to worry so much. Your past root canal did not cause your cancer, nor will it cause it to come back. Getting it extracted is up to you and your dentist.

This blog post is brought to you by Scottsdale dentist and root canal provider, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.


Do I Need a Mercury-free Dentist to Remove One Filling?

I have a silver filling I want to get rid of. I asked my dentist and he said the panic about silver fillings is overblown and I’m safer leaving them in. I don’t want to leave it in. Do I need to switch dentists or is he right about it being unsafe to remove?


Dear Megan,

Left: silver amalgam filling Right: mercury-free composite filling

If a dentist doesn’t know how to do a sanitary amalgam removal, then yes, you’re better off leaving them in. However, you don’t have to if you truly don’t want to. Especially if they’re getting old, you’re much better off removing it before it starts to leak.

There are dentists who will know how to remove them safely. I’d look for a mercury-free dentist in your place. They’ll know how to keep you from inhaling any mercury vapors or swallowing any bits of mercury. Aside from a stopper dam, they’ll need a fan and cold water to keep the mercury from melting.

Once you remove the silver fillings, you can replace them with white composite fillings. These are actually better for your teeth than their silver predecessor anyway.

If you’re happy with your dentist, you can just go to another one for this removal and replacement. However, if you and your dentist tend to disagree in treatment philosophy, you could use this as an opportunity to find another dentist.

Look at the website of some local dentists. Make sure they’re mercury-free. It’s also good to see if they offer other services you may be interested in. For instance, if you’re looking for services such as teeth whitening, make sure you can get that as well.

Then, when you have a list of possibilities, be certain to check out their reviews. Many people leave reviews on sites such as Google or Yelp!

This will tell you if they do quality work and whether or not they have a good chairside manner and patients enjoy working with them.

Best of luck to you.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Affordable Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Dentist Suggesting Implants for Child?

My son had several failed root canal treatments on a tooth damaged in an accident. He’s going to lose the tooth and I was looking into replacement options. My dentist suggested dental implants were the best tooth replacement. My son’s only ten-years-old so I’m not too keen on the idea of another surgery for him after an extraction. Couldn’t I do something like a dental bridge instead?


Dear Abigail,

A woman and her dentist smiling

I’m a little concerned here. Are you certain your dentist understood this procedure was for your ten-year-old son? While a dental implant is a fantastic replacement option for an adult, children are absolutely NOT candidates for dental implants. They can’t get them. Their jaws are still growing and developing. The implants stay fixed and will not grow and shift with their jaw the way their natural teeth will.

The standard procedure is to get a temporary tooth replacement until the child’s development is completed and then switch it out for a dental implant when his body is ready.

What’s the Right Temporary Replacement for a Child’s Tooth?

What about your suggestion of a dental bridge? You’re correct that it wouldn’t require surgery. However, it does require your dentist to grind down your son’s two healthy adjacent teeth. I’d hate for him to lose tooth structure unnecessarily. This wouldn’t be a temporary solution. A dental bridge is a permanent restoration, though it will likely have to be replaced many times over the years as he grows.

dental flipper
A Dental Flipper

Ideally, you’d want an inexpensive solution which won’t affect any of his other teeth while he finishes growing. In that case, I’d recommend a dental flipper. It’s a respectable restoration. His friends won’t know it’s fake unless he thinks it’s cool and shows them. Yes, it is removable and he could lose it. But, truthfully, you could purchase several dental flippers for the cost of one bridge. If your son does misplace one, it could be a good lesson in responsibility where he has to mow neighborhood lawns to pay back the money he owes you for the replacement.

Then, when he’s stopped growing, you can take him to a skilled implant dentist. If your dentist actually was suggesting a dental implant for a ten-year-old, it means your dentist is incompetent. Following through with his advice would have put your son at great risk. You need to find a new dentist—double quick.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Can I Dump My Dentures?

I wish I’d been born 30 years later than I was! There are so many marvelous advancements everywhere that life would have been so much easier. One of those is with my stinking dentures. I hate them. Passionately. Now I hear they have dental implants which are like having real teeth. They don’t move or slip out. Am I too old to get those and dump my dentures?


Dear Eugenia,

Too Old for Dental Implants?

I have a feeling you’re quite the spitfire. Just so you know, you’re not the only dental patient who’d like to dump their dentures. You’re definitely not too old to do it. However, there may be one procedure you’d need first before going forward.

You mentioned your dentures slip and even come out. That’s due to the length of time you’ve had dentures. You’re suffering from what’s known as facial collapse. Your body reabsorbs the minerals in your jawbone after your teeth are gone to use elsewhere throughout your body. That has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone.

Without enough bone structure, there will be nowhere to anchor the dental implants. Don’t despair, though. A simple procedure called bone grafting can build back up the bone in your jaw. This will give you the support you need to retain the implants.

With dental implants, you’ll be able to eat what you want without anything getting underneath your dentures. You’ll never have to worry about them slipping, AND you’ll look even younger with your jaw built back up. How’s that for a plus?

Which Dentist Should Do Your Implants?

Before you jump into this, be very careful in choosing what dentist you choose to do the dental implant procedure. Make sure they have lots of experience and a high success rate. You’ll want a success rate of at least 98%.

Here’s how it will work. First, you’ll get the bone grafting done, which is a one-day procedure. After you’ve healed from that, it’s time for the dental implant surgery. Once you’re healed from the surgery, then your dentist will place your overdentures which attach to the implants.

Let us know if you get it done and send us a picture of your new smile.
This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

What Kind of Dentist Does Teeth Whitening?

I keep hearing you need a cosmetic dentist for that type of work. Does that include teeth whitening? I have a family dentist and he says he does whitening. Is it safe to use him?


Dear Bruce,

A woman and her dentist smiling
Do You Need a Cosmetic Dentist for Teeth Whitening?

First, I want to make sure you know there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry by the American Dental Association. Dentists who call themselves cosmetic dentists, are really just general dentists who do cosmetic procedures in their practice in addition to their general dentistry.

That being said, some dentists have invested much more time and energy in developing expertise in the field of cosmetics. So, for some procedures, like porcelain veneers, you will want a dentist who’s invested in training and has experience placing them. Also look at their smile gallery to see if you like the type of results they get.

Does Teeth Whitening Require a Cosmetic Dentist?

Teeth Whitening is a completely different story. Any general dentist can do it. It doesn’t take artistry, but rather general dental skills. When it comes to whitening your teeth, the role of the dentist is to provide custom fit trays for you to use the whitening gel, as well as monitor the patient’s oral health during the process.

There are always things which can go wrong, such as gum sensitivity, issues with decay, etc. That’s where his skills as a dentist, much more than a cosmetic dentist, are what you need.

I hope this helps answer your question. Most patients love teeth whitening and the results they get from it. One word or warning. If you have dental work, such as fillings or porcelain crowns, the whitening gel only works on natural tooth structure. That doesn’t mean you still can’t get your teeth whitened. It just means that (if they’re in a visible part of your smile) you’ll want to replace them after your whitening procedure so your smile will match.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Dentist Said I Only Have One Option

Hi, I’m annoyed with my dentist. He’s one of those people who think because he went to dental school I shouldn’t have to many questions and should just do his recommendation. This isn’t working for me. I have a tooth I’m trying to save. If I can’t save it, I want to know what options I have in replacing it. He says I only have one option—dental implants. I’m a believer that there are always options. What are other procedures available in this situation?


Dear Carl,

There are too many dentists who work that way. Unfortunately, the dental school promotes the attitude that the dentist always knows best. However, we are also taught that we’re ethically bound to give our patients all their options and never move forward with treatment without their express permission. Your dentist seems to have forgotten this. Feel free to show him this post as a simple reminder.

First, let me say I’m glad you’re trying to save the tooth. It’s always best to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible. If it doesn’t work out, you have several options:

Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implantThis is the option your dentist mentioned. It is at the top of the line, the ideal option. In fact, it’s a lot like having your natural tooth back (when it was healthy). The downsides are the cost and the fact that it requires surgery. The surgery is actually its benefit too. It implants a root form into your jawbone which protects you from losing essential bone structure. Click here to learn more about dental implants.

Dental Bridge

Image of a dental bridgeThis is a second good option. It suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. The downside is it does remove tooth structure from the adjacent teeth to make room for the crown. This makes more sense if those teeth already need crowns. Then you’re getting two for the price of one. The upside is it’s less expensive. Click here to learn more about a dental bridge.

Removable Partial Denture

Removable partial dentureThis is my least favorite option, but sometimes it’s all a patient can afford, so I help them make the best of it. It just uses a partial denture and clamps to your teeth. There are various types of clamps, all of which come with ups and downs, as well as varying price tags. Your dentist is obligated to tell you about them if you decide to go that route. The obvious downside to these is they’re not fixed in your mouth and can move around. Plus they put pressure on the teeth to which they’re clamped.

Have a Frank Discussion with Your Dentist

It sounds to me like you and your dentist need to have a pow-wow. If he’s not willing to help you navigate these options and give you all their pros and cons, you’re better served by going to a completely different practitioner. I’m sorry he’s making you reach out elsewhere for information. I hope you’re able to save the tooth and won’t have to bother with any of the above, but it’s always good to be prepared just in case.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Think I’m Being Ripped Off By Pediatric Dentist

I’m so frustrated with my pediatric dentist. I’m about to take my daughter to a general dentist if they’ll take her, just to leave this clinic. First, they insisted that my daughter get dental sealants. I didn’t mind that because I see the benefit of getting sealants. What I did mind was them insisting I have her use nitrous oxide to get the procedure. In fact, they refused to do the procedure without it without giving an explanation. Then, after I forked out all that money out of pocket, several sealants fell out sometime between her getting them on and her next check-up six months later. Now they’re insisting I pay to have them done again. Can I just go to a different dentist? Will they make her use nitrous?

Deanna L. – Colorado


Yes, sealants are important for young kids. They have a hard time getting down into those crevices of their molars. Sealants help protect them from decay. I’m not sure about the insistence of nitrous. That sounds like an unnecessary expense. Placing sealants is fast and painless. The dentist just paints them on. I’m also not sure why they fell off so quickly, unless your daughter eats a lot of sticky or hard candy. Ideally, they should have offered to replace them.

To answer your other question, no your daughter doesn’t have to go to a pediatric dentist. General dentists are qualified to treat young children. The trick will be finding one who enjoys it. You want them to be pleasant and fun with your child. One way to know how they really feel about children is to ask when they first want to see children. If they say two or three years old, then you can be sure they enjoy children. If they say 8-10, I’d move on to another dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Dental Implant verses Dental Bridge

I have a missing tooth and I’m trying to decide between a dental implant or a dental bridge. Any thoughts?

Brooke S. – Louisiana


The better tooth replacement is a dental implant. Though it is more expensive, it’s like having your own natural tooth back.  There are times though, when a dental bridge would make more sense.

The teeth adjacent to the false tooth have to be shaved down to make room for dental crowns. If your adjacent teeth need work, then that treatment makes sense.

If, however, the adjacent teeth are healthy, it doesn’t make sense to shave them down thereby removing healthy tooth structure. In that case, I would recommend the implant. I’d speak with your dentist and see what he recommends in your case.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

A comment about our website company

Our website is designed and maintained by Infinity Dental Web. We have found them very helpful and good to work with. When our site was launched, it took it a while to get significant rankings. They stayed with it and did extra work for us until it began performing, which we appreciate.

We see that they just launched a new website design for another one of their clients, Dr. David Newkirk, in Naperville Illinois. He is a well-known cosmetic dentist who is on the lecture circuit. Congratulations to Dr. Newkirk for a lovely design, and to Infinity Dental Web.

We can say, from our experience, that an effective website can indeed draw in patients. Before the SEO on our website was effective, we didn’t get any calls. Now we track calls as coming from our website every month, for a regular flow of new patients.

This blog is sponsored by the Phoenix dental office of Peck Family Dentistry.


Dental Dam

My dentist always uses something called a Dental Dam when he does root canals and fillings. I don’t like how it feels. Can you tell me what its used for?

Anne G.- Ft. Worth, TX


Sure. A dental dam, also called rubber dam, are designed to keep your tooth dry for procedures like root canals and sometimes composite fillings. The purpose for it is to protect your tooth from saliva. Our saliva has bacteria in it that can increase the chance of your tooth getting reinfected after your root canal procedure. It is also useful for keeping your tongue out of the way as well as keeping dental material and water out of your throat during the procedure. This helps people with a strong gag reflex.

Some dentists will use it when doing white (composite fillings) also because if the tooth doesn’t stay dry, the material won’t bond properly to your tooth. I would discuss with your dentist how you feel about the dam and see if you can work out a mutually beneficial solution.

You may also be interested in learning about Mercury-free dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.