All About Amalgam Fillings

There wasn’t any question about what would be used to fill the cavity in the past. However, these days, you have several options, thanks to technological advancements.

What Is A Dental Cavity?

Some teeth damage may generate a hole in your teeth called a dental cavity. Once this condition develops, you will be recommended to benefit from dental fillings as a treatment before the condition gets worse. If left untreated, cavities can lead to toothache, bad breath, infection, and tooth loss.

What May Cause Dental Cavities?

Tooth decay is the most common cause of dental cavities. Once you develop a tooth decay, bacteria will consume the foods left on your teeth and form plaque which will dissolve the hard-protective coating on your teeth with their acid, causing tiny holes. These tiny holes may then grow bigger and lead to severe conditions.

Acid erosion is another reason for tooth cavities. Certain foods, drinks, and medicines contain acids that can cause your protective enamel coating to get worn away. Some medical conditions, such as reflux or hiatus hernia, can also have the same effect.

Chipped or broken teeth occurring as part of an injury or after eating something very hard can cause cavities by uncovering the inner parts of the tooth, which lead to erosion over time.

Abrasion, caused by grinding or brushing your teeth aggressively, is another factor that can lead to cavities.

What Types of Dental Fillings Are Available?

There are different types of dental fillings available depending on the affected tooth and the severity of the damage.

  • A temporary filling is a short-term solution to protect your damaged tooth until it is replaced with a permanent filling. This type of dental filling is most commonly used in urgent cases.
  • A dental amalgam is a traditional silver-colored filling made from metals, including silver, tin, and copper. This filling is very hard-wearing, which is why it can be an ideal option for conditions in your back teeth. Amalgam fillings can last up to 20 years if taken good care of.
  • Composite or white filling is another type of dental filling which looks like your natural teeth.
  • Onlay is another solution, suitable for larger chewing surfaces, such as the back teeth. It may be made from metal, composite, or porcelain.

Dental Amalgam

Dental Amalgam, often referred to as silver filling, is a material used to fill cavities. It is a mixture of metals, such as elemental mercury, and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper.

How Are Dental Amalgams Applied?

Your target tooth will be drilled before placing the dental Amalgam. Then, the cavity will be shaped to prepare for the placement of the amalgam filling. Next, the dentist will mix the encapsulated powdered alloy with the liquid mercury to form an amalgam putty which will be softened for easy application. Once placed inside the cavity, it will harden into a solid filling.

What Are The Benefits of Dental Amalgams?

Dental Amalgams are very strong and can last a long time because they are less likely to break compared to other types of dental fillings. This is the most significant factor which has made this material different from other solutions.

Amalgam can be helpful in cases with high risks of tooth decay and where other solutions are not practical because of moisture.

Another advantage of Amalgam is that it can be considered the least expensive filling material, making it suitable for a larger number of patients.

What Are The Risks Of Dental Amalgams?

Amalgams contain elemental mercury, which is not considered dangerous since low levels of mercury in the form of vapor are emitted and may be inhaled in case you have Amalgam.

However, this risk increases if you are allergic to certain metals such as silver, copper, Zinc, and Tin.

Another potential risk can be the development of neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor.

Exposure to mercury may also pose a health risk in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, nursing women and their newborns, children, and people with neurological disease, impaired kidney function, or allergies.

Is Amalgam Fillings Removal Possible?

Suppose you have previously undergone amalgam-based treatment and prefer to benefit from the modern discreet fillings that can merge with your natural teeth. In that case, you can consider having them removed.

The British Dental Association and the FDA have deemed the risks of removing dental Amalgam very low; however, if your Amalgam is healthy, you may be recommended to avoid replacing it.

If your amalgam filling has become damaged or is missing, you can replace it with porcelain-based fillings and PFM crowns (porcelain-fused-to-metal).

Amalgam vs. Composite

A trendy alternative to Amalgam fillings is Composite filling which is designed to match your natural teeth. Composite fillings are newer and typically more expensive, though they are not as long-lasting as metal-based fillings. Amalgam and composite fillings fit different occasions due to their varying features:

  • Aesthetics: The most apparent distinction between Amalgam and composite fillings lies in their color. Composite fillings blend with the natural color of your teeth, while Amalgam fillings stand out with their silvery hues.
  • Treatment Expenses: Amalgam is more cost-effective than composite. Dental insurance plans may not even cover composite fillings, which is why people prefer Amalgam in some cases.
  • Strength: Composite fillings are made of plastic and ceramic compounds. They are strong enough to be applied to any tooth, but they will not last as long as amalgam fillings and may wear down due to chewing and grinding.

You can discuss your condition with your dentist to plan the most suitable treatment for your dental cavities.

Your dentist can decide best if you share with them your concerns and medical history.

If you want to restore your cavities or chipped teeth, contact us at Aria Dental. We are prepared to help you enjoy a comfortable experience of refreshing your oral condition in a modern environment.

No matter what your problem is, you can rest assured that we have the best solutions to offer to you.

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