Amalgam used to be the filling material of choice for many years in the past. Amalgam fillings proved to be hard wearing and low in cost, but together with these benefits of metal fillings, came a whole bunch of adverse effects. Over the last few years more modern materials have improved so much that they have minimized the need of having to use amalgam anymore. In our dental practice near Lincoln we follow an amalgam free policy and we only do composite fillings. Composite fillings, often known as white fillings, are actually tooth-like, aesthetic fillings. Additionally at You Smile dental care we use the top of the range composites for replacing amalgam fillings successfully.
Dental Filling Materials
Do I need to change all my amalgam fillings?
Not every amalgam filling needs changing. At You Smile dental care we start with an assessment of your old fillings and we usually recommend only some of them changing, unless you want to change them all for cosmetic reasons or for a mercury free oral cavity/system.
For metal fillings that need changing we take high quality intra-oral photos and x-rays and we explain to you exactly why
My amalgam fillings do not bother me so why should I change them?
- Amalgam fillings with years put a lot of stress to the healthy tooth remaining and small cracks start to form. These cracks are not visible to the patient and the tooth usually does not give any prior symptoms, until one day it cracks! At You Smile we will take close up photos of your teeth and show you all the small cracks are putting the tooth in high risk for suffering a large fracture, which would possibly cause the tooth to require a crown, root canal therapy of even worse extraction. This could be prevented by proactively changing the old metal filling with a modern composite filling, which is plastic and binds the whole remaining tooth together and mends it, instead of putting shredding forces of compacted metal in it.
- Amalgam fillings are not bonded to the tooth, instead the metal is compacted into the tooth during the filling process. As a result the margins of these fillings are not sealing safely the enamel and the vulnerable interior of the tooth (dentin) remains exposed to bacterial infiltration and damage. Billions of bacteria in the mouth are very good to find these leaking margins and get inside your tooth, putting it in long term in very high risk of root canal infection, fracture and extraction. Again, micro leakage as such usually does not cause any symptoms until one day the appearance of severe pain or collapse of the tooth.
- Amalgam fillings contain mercury that is a severe poison for the human body. Although in the mix of amalgam mercury is supposed to be inactive, that depends as well on the quality and correct consistency of the amalgam mixture when it was firstly made for you. Chronic poisoning from certain amalgam fillings, although not directly proven to be taking place it is also not excluded at all from possibly happening. Many holistic type of approaches in general health and well-being recommend changing all your amalgam fillings.
- Amalgam fillings have been used for many years as a quick and cheap solution. That means the fillings were placed during appointments were the main factor was speed and low cost, not a perfect placement. So many of them present rough corners, poor margins and overhangs, which all constitute bacterial traps that retain plaque and cause further deterioration of the teeth and gum. Typical examples are interdental gaps (food-traps) between neighbouring teeth that were not made to touch properly or bad overhangs that prevent the patient from being able to floss effectively.
- Amalgam fillings release metal staining components to the teeth and gum around them causing severe discoloration of the teeth but also of the gum around the amalgam filled teeth. Even one discoloured tooth sometimes is enough to ruin a beautiful smile.