If you had dental fillings done in the “drill and fill” era of dentistry, they are most probably amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are those silver-coloured fillings, sometimes referred to as “silver” or “mercury” fillings that were a very popular used in the 1970s. For a long time, dentists have recommended these fillings for their durability and strength.
In more recent times, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the mercury component of this filling material. As a dental filling material, amalgam contains silver, tin and copper but half of the filling material in weight consists of mercury. It is believed that patients who have amalgam fillings are exposed to a daily dose of mercury that may affect their health in the long run.
Whilst exposure is extremely low, concerns remain over the minute but constant mercury exposure that has been linked to illnesses, diseases and disorders.
Are those holes in your teeth?
Another drawback is the dark silver appearance of amalgam fillings that draws attention to your mouth. From afar, amalgam fillings actually resemble holes that, ironically, make your tooth look decayed.
If you are uncomfortable with either their appearance or potential health hazard, you can choose to replace your amalgam fillings with tooth-coloured composite fillings. Also known as white fillings, this tooth-coloured alternative can make your filled-in tooth look natural, like it was never damaged by cavities.
Why tooth-coloured fillings are preferred
White fillings contain a mixture of plastic and glass that can blend in with the colour of your natural teeth. As compared to amalgam fillings, they are less noticeable in your mouth. Cosmetic dentists also use the composite filling material to mask any dental imperfections you may have such as staining, chipped or broken teeth.
Used to support the existing tooth structure, the composite material bonds to the tooth to prevent it from decay and further damage. Another attribute of composite fillings is its ability to reduce tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Although more expensive than amalgam fillings, composite fillings are still cheaper than gold fillings.
The procedure for replacing amalgam fillings with white fillings is very straightforward and simple, and can usually be done in one appointment.
The procedure usually starts with shade-matching the composite resin colour based on the shade of your existing teeth.
After preparing your tooth, your Canberra dentist will fill your cavities, applying the composite material in layers. He will then apply a high intensity light to harden the material as each layer is applied.
Finally, your Canberra cosmetic dentist will shape the tooth-coloured resin, before polishing to give it a shiny finish. Polishing the filling also prevents it from staining.
Should I remove my amalgam fillings?
There is no conclusive evidence to suggest whether it is safer to leave amalgam fillings in place or to remove them. Unless your have mercury sensitivity, it is not necessary for you to remove old amalgam fillings. However, millions of old amalgam fillings are removed every day throughout the world, because the alternative is an aesthetically pleasing as well as safer material. This is why it is advisable to seek from your Canberra dentist about the safe removal of amalgam fillings.
Are you looking for a Canberra dentist who can safely remove your amalgam fillings?
Go to the Dentist Canberra website to find the right one!