What is an amalgam filling
A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is not as aesthetic as a composite filling. Some disadvantages for using amalgam fillings include:
- Discoloration of the tooth into a gray and sometimes black color will occur from the amalgam.
- Amalgam contains mercury, which is a substance known to cause various birth defects and diseases.
- When placing amalgam fillings, more tooth structure has to be removed than when placing composite fillings.
- Large amalgam restorations have been known to expand slowly and cause tooth structure to fracture.
As with most dental restorations, amalgam fillings are not permanent and will someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting smile.
Reasons for amalgam fillings
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Worn teeth
What does getting an amalgam filling involve?
Amalgam fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new amalgam filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The silver filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when amalgam fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.