Before we get into our discussion of the materials used for dental fillings, it is important to know what they are used for. Fillings are used to replace parts of teeth that have been affected by cavities, cracks, or damage from nail-biting or teeth grinding. There are various materials that fillings are made of. Read…
What Is a Silver Amalgam Dental Filling?
Silver amalgam is a kind of dental fillings used to fill tooth cavities resulting from tooth decay. The amalgam comprises metals, mercury, and powdered silver, tin, and copper alloy. By weight, elemental mercury makes up almost half of the dental amalgam. The elemental mercury's chemical characteristics cause it to react and bond with the copper, silver, and tin alloy particles to form an amalgam.
An overview of getting a silver amalgam dental filling
Amalgam dental fillings are often placed in one dental visit. The dentist will remove decay as needed while the tooth is numb, following the administration of a local anesthetic. After that, the area will be completely cleaned and meticulously prepped before the new filling is applied.
The amalgam putty is made by mixing the powdered alloy with liquid mercury by a dentist. Softened amalgam putty is molded and inserted into the cavity before hardening into a firm filling. The filling will be carefully contoured and polished, restoring the form and function of the tooth.
When amalgam fillings are initially placed, it is common to feel sensitive to heat and cold; however, this will decrease after the tooth adjusts the new filling. At the end of the treatment, patients will be given post-treatment instructions. The new fillings will last longer if patients practice good oral care, eat well, and see the dentist regularly.
What to know before getting silver amalgam fillings
There are many kinds of fillings available, and the choice between them is entirely up to the patient and their dentist. One of the most significant advantages of dental amalgam is its strength and durability. It is also one of the most affordable materials, too.
As previously stated, nearly half of dental amalgam is liquid mercury, while the other half is a powdered alloy of tin, silver, and copper. Mercury is primarily utilized to join the alloy particles into a solid, long-lasting filling material. Mercury's peculiar characteristics make it an essential component of dental amalgam, contributing to its long-term durability.
Mercury concerns in silver amalgam
Patients who already have amalgam fillings in excellent shape with no deterioration underneath the filling need not have them removed or changed. Removing amalgam fillings prematurely may result in the loss of good tooth structure and exposure to mercury vapor produced during the procedure. Those who have any concerns about a mercury allergy or sensitivity to other metals in the dental amalgam should talk to the dentist about alternatives.
Since some individuals are allergic to mercury or other components in amalgam, there may be certain drawbacks to utilizing it. Pregnant women are advised to avoid amalgam fillings, but existing amalgam fillings do not require replacement.
The bottom line
The goal of utilizing amalgam dental fillings is to provide patients with a long-lasting, stable, and cost-effective alternative for filling cavities that have developed due to tooth decay or wear. Book an appointment with our dental office today to learn more.
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