Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam Fillings: Amalgam (Silver) Fillings

Somewhat like composite fillings (intra-site link?), amalgam fillings are purposed to fill cavitated enamel and protect your teeth from complications that can arise from untreated cavities. Amalgam fillings are a low-cost, durable, and efficient option to fill in cavitated enamel on teeth. Amalgam fillings are generally constructed out of a mixture of metals such as silver, tin, and copper. Specifically, amalgam is produced through the combination of liquid mercury with one/several of the metals previously mentioned. Accordingly, amalgam fillings appear silver in colour, due to the highly metallic content.
What is it like to get an amalgam filling?
Here at Aura Dental, the steps to having an amalgam filling applied is much similar to the procedural steps associated with a composite filling.
Anesthetic and Cleaning
First off, one of our dentists will inject a local anesthetic into the tissue that surrounds the tooth to be treated. This will numb the area so the dentists can carry out the procedure pain-free. The tooth is then thoroughly cleaned before any amalgam application is performed.
Next, the cavitated area of the tooth is removed through drilling and trimming methods, and typically requires a little more tooth structure to be removed compared to composite fillings to create a strong bond, but this only results in a more fortified restored tooth.
Application of amalgam filling
Now that the decayed tooth tissue is removed, our dentist will then apply the amalgam filling to the treatment area. Once molded to form the shape of a natural tooth, your amalgam filling is complete!
How should I care for my amalgam filling?
Amalgam fillings can be completed in a slightly faster manner compared to composite fillings, as some steps that are necessary for composite fillings are not required for amalgam fillings (e.g., use of a curing light). Instead, our dentists recommend you wait roughly 24 hours for the amalgam filling to completely harden and reach full strength. As such, we recommend avoiding any hard foods or activities that result in applying pressure to the tooth for the first 24 hours following application of your filling. When cared for in the appropriate manner, amalgam fillings have been known to last for up to 15 years! Hence, the reason why these fillings are recommended as a durable and low-cost option compared to composite fillings.
Who should get an amalgam filling?
Amalgam fillings may not be for those with the following concerns Anyone with a cavity that requires a filling is recommended to receive amalgam fillings. If you are concerned about the silver appearance of amalgam fillings, then we recommend having composite fillings applied. Some individuals can be sensitive to the metal components used to construct amalgam fillings. For this reason, our dentists recommend having composite fillings applied as these do not require the use of metals in their production. One major concern that patients may have is the leakage of mercury vapors from the amalgam filling. Although this does occur over time, many studies have been conducted and have shown that as long as the amalgam solution is mixed properly, the amount of mercury vapor that can leak over time remains well within the safety limits and will not cause any health complications. For instance, the consumption of fish can result in higher bodily intake of mercury compared to that absorbed through mercury vapor leakage from amalgam fillings. Furthermore, many health regulatory bodies including, but not limited to the American Dental Association, National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization deem dental amalgam as a safe, effective, and reliable material for use in restorative dentistry
Advantages of amalgam fillings
Aside from these concerns, amalgam fillings are suitable for patients seeking a long-lasting, highly resistant, durable, inexpensive, and potentially anti-microbial (i.e., reduces bacterial activity) option for restorative material to protect against the negative complications that can arise from untreated cavities. To see what dental filling best suits your lifestyle and personal situation, call our dentists today at (204) 560-4500 to book a consultation appointment and have your smile restored to full strength today!