What Are the Benefits of Amalgam Fillings?

What Are the Benefits of Amalgam Fillings?

Jul 01, 2020

If you have a cavity, amalgam fillings may be used to patch up the cavity. Amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry since the 1800s and have proven to be a reliable and efficient method of sealing cavities. However, the use of amalgam fillings has declined over the recent years with the introduction of new materials.

Nevertheless, dentists around the globe have agreed that amalgam fillings have a wider variety of use compared to its new counterparts.

There have been claims that amalgam fillings pose a danger to your health due to the mercury present in the material. These claims however are a bit exaggerated and lack scientific proof in most cases.

The Procedure

During the amalgam filling procedure, the following will take place:

  • Local anesthesia may be used at the beginning to numb the surrounding tooth area.
  • Using a drill, your dentist will pierce through the enamel to cut out the decay. He will then sculpt the area to make ‘space’ for the amalgam fillings.
  • Prior to fitting the amalgam fillings, your dentist will etch your tooth using acid gel to bond the filling to your teeth.
  • Upon completion, he will polish your tooth.

Advantages of Amalgam Fillings

Some of the benefits you may enjoy from using amalgam fillings include:

  • In comparison to its alternative materials such as composite fillings, amalgam fillings are more affordable.
  • They are more durable compared to composite resin and can last for 10 to 12 years without requiring any replacement.
  • Due to their strength, amalgam fillings are able to withstand a lot of pressure making them ideal for use in teeth at the back of your mouth like molars. Dentists have identified amalgam fillings to be the strongest material used to seal up cavities.
  • These fillings have a wide variety of uses compared to its alternatives. It is however mainly used in tooth cavities.
  • They provide protection against tooth decay.
  • Due to its great tolerance to moist, amalgam fillings are relatively easy to place.

Drawbacks of Amalgam fillings

Despite its numerous advantages, there are a few drawbacks associated with amalgam fillings. They are:

  • They experience discolouration
  • The appearance of some fillings has been noted to change from silver to dark. For this reason, amalgam fillings are preferably used at the back of your mouth.
  • Dentists have also noted that amalgam fillings weaken the teeth. This is because over time, amalgam fillings expand. Though not common, it may end up causing severe fractures to your tooth.
  • Amalgam fillings have also been noted to cause increased tooth sensitivity.
  • There are people allergic to the components that make up amalgam fillings. You are therefore advised to consult with your dentist to asses whether amalgam fillings will be a good choice for you.

Purpose of Using Mercury in Amalgam Fillings

Also called ‘silver fillings’, amalgam fillings contain a blend of metals. These metals include tin, silver, copper and mercury. In some cases, amalgam fillings will include indium, palladium and zinc.

The reason people have raised concerns over the safety of using amalgam fillings in the recent years is due to its mercury content. Mercury is said to release a vapour that may be inhaled into your body. The mercury inhaled may potentially cause damage to your body organs such as the brain.

Mercury is essential in amalgam fillings. It is responsible for ensuring the flexibility of the amalgam material by causing it to be soft enough to be placed into the tooth cavity.

Researchers argue that since mercury is a natural metal, everyone must have been exposed to it at one point in their lives through the air we breath or our drinking water. Due to the low mercury content in amalgam fillings, researchers have concluded that there is no difference between the exposure to mercury from the amalgam fillings and that of our environment.

Contrary to the claims put forth, amalgam fillings are safe for use despite containing mercury. However, you should consult with your dentist before getting an amalgam filling since there are people who are allergic to the components of the material.

For the best amalgam filling procedure, book an appointment with us today at All About Family Dentistry. We have exceptional support stuff and experienced dentists who will ensure your amalgam filling is perfect.

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