Did you know that over 50% of children aged 6 and over have some type of tooth decay? Without treating cavities the result can be tooth pain, infection, and at worse, tooth loss. Amalgam fillings are a way of repairing and/or restoring teeth back to their normal function. The process is quick, painless, and relatively long-lasting. In addition to cavities dental fillings can also be used to repair teeth cracks and fractures.
Amalgam fillings have been around in some form or another for the last 150 years and although sometimes known as ‘silver amalgam’ they consist of a combination of metals including copper, tin, nickel, zinc, and mercury. The main advantages of this type of filling are that they are the least expensive form of restorative material and they can easily last in excess of 10 years. In addition they’re far less sensitive to moisture during the filling process than other forms of restoration, making them easier to fit. Amalgam fillings are also completed in one single dental visit. However, because they don’t match the color of your teeth, silver amalgam fillings are best utilized in the rear of the mouth.
Although there is some concern among certain parties over the safety of dental amalgams, (particularly with regards to the mercury content) they have an exemplary safety record in the US. In fact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a report stating that there is no reason not to use amalgam fillings for any adult or child over the age of 6. However if you have any doubts or concerns, please feel free to express them to us. At Chesterfield Dentistry, we take your questions and concerns very seriously.
So how does the ‘filling’ process work?
After numbing the area the decayed area is removed using a tiny dental drill. The cavity area is then cleaned out and the amalgam mix piped in. Once in position the mix is shaped to fit and buffed to eradicate any jagged edges.
What patient’s can expect?
For the vast majority of people, going to the dentist for a filling is a painless experience and is over within 20-40 minutes, although patients may find that they have a numb sensation for approximately 1 hour after the treatment until the anesthetic wears off. In addition, unlike composite resin (white fillings), amalgams take approximately 1 hour to fully harden so patients should refrain from eating hard or crunchy foods for this amount of time. In essence when fitted properly, amalgam fillings will fully restore the function and health of a tooth extending its life for many years to come.