Amalgam Filling- Is It Safe? | Advantages of Silver Dental Filling
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Is It Safe to Have Silver (Amalgam) Fillings or Should I Have Them Replaced With Composite

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Dental amalgam fillings are used to help damaged teeth regain their normal function and prevent further tooth decay. They are also known as silver fillings because of their appearance.

Other commonly used fillings include composites, porcelain, gold, and glass ionomer. Over the years, the use of amalgam fillings has undergone a lot of scrutiny due to its high mercury content. In this article, Vita Dental Spring provides you with information that will help you make a decision on the solution that is best for you.

What Are Amalgam Fillings?

They are a combination of metals such as copper, tin, silver, and liquid mercury. It is also possible to add smaller amounts of indium, zinc or palladium.

The percentage of the mercury in the fillings makes the material flexible. When mixed with an alloy powder, it creates a compound that is soft enough to blend and press on the affected tooth. It also plays a more significant role by binding other metals together to create a stronger filling that can withstand the forces of chewing and biting.

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

Millions of people worldwide, including patients who visit at Vita Family Dentist in  Spring, have had or continue having amalgam fillings. However, there are concerns being raised over the mercury content in it.

The argument is that there is a risk of the metal being released into the body and absorbed by the tissues, thereby causing unwanted illness.

Back in the day, amalgam fillings were thought to be inactive. What this meant was that once the mixture hardened on the tooth, no mercury was released. In recent years, and with new detection techniques being discovered, measuring mercury release from the amalgam fillings has become a possibility.  These tests have been carried out, and they show that only small amounts of mercury in the form of vapor can be released as the amalgam wears out.  The number and age of the fillings in the mouth can cause mercury to leach into the body.

Studies have shown that the amount of mercury released is too low to cause any harm. It is smaller than the amount one would get from eating sea fish, which is a good source of dietary mercury. Reputable bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Dental Association (ADA), and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all agree that, based on scientific evidence, amalgam fillings are a safe and effective filling material for adults and children aged six and above.

Do People Experience Negative Reactions to Amalgam?

In rare cases people do experience allergic reactions to the filings, nonetheless, it’s essential to inform your dentist at Vita Dental Spring if you have allergic reactions to mercury or other metals such as tin, silver, and copper.

In case you develop allergies, discuss with your Amalgam dental filling dentists, and maybe they can recommend other filling materials. Also, there is an amalgam that contains indium or copper. These elements retain the mercury and limit the amount released into the environment.

Pregnant women should also be concerned about amalgam fillings. Although research hasn’t shown any health effects, mercury can cross through into the placenta. Expectant women are advised not to get amalgam fillings during their period of pregnancy unless it is indispensable. Alternatively, the dentist at Vita Dental Spring can suggest other options.

What Are The Advantages Of Amalgam Fillings?

Silver amalgams are stronger and durable compared to composite fillings. Meaning that it is less likely to crack. A silver filling can last for up to fifteen years, while some can even go up to twenty years. Colored composites can only last for ten years.

Since the amalgam fillings expand and contract at the same temperature as the natural tooth, you won’t feel any sensitivity while eating or drinking hot or cold foods like hot coffee or ice-cream.

Silver fillings are not technique-sensitive, compared to composite fillings. With composite fillings, the affected area has to be completely dry thus making it difficult to repair your back teeth.

It is important to note that, amalgam fillings are good for filling large surfaces like the back teeth. Reason being that the back teeth are subject to heavy chewing and grinding. On the other hand, tooth-colored composite fillings are suitable for front teeth to achieve its natural color.

Can The Amalgam Fillings Be Replaced?

Amalgam fillings are removable only when they are worn, broken or if there is decay under the filling. Unless you are developing allergies, removing good filler can result in the unnecessary loss of healthy parts of the tooth.

Whether you prefer to use composite or silver fillings to repair damaged teeth, choosing a dental filling is a personal decision. However, several factors like the cost, area to be filled, the amount of repair needed and their appearance (how natural they look), have to be taken into consideration. Frequent dental checkups at Vita Dental Spring can help arrest cavities while still small, hence the use of alternative material like composites.