If your teeth are damaged or decayed, your dentist may recommend amalgam fillings. These safe and effective options will restore the strength and function of your teeth. Here are four frequently asked questions about the filling procedure and how this kind of treatment will benefit you.
Common Questions About Amalgam Fillings
1. What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Made from a mix of different alloyed metals including tin, copper, silver, and low levels of mercury, dental amalgam has been used as a tooth filling material for more than 150 years. After cavities and decay are physically removed from the tooth, your dentist will place the filling inside the void to restore the structural integrity of the tooth.
2. Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?
Because mercury can be toxic at high levels, many people worry that amalgam fillings are unsafe, since they typically contain trace quantities. However, extensive scientific research has shown that amalgam fillings pose no health risks and are perfectly safe. What’s more, because mercury occurs naturally in the earth's crust, you’re routinely exposed to low ambient levels regardless.
3. Do Amalgam Fillings Offer Benefits?
In addition to being safe, amalgam fillings are typically much more affordable than alternatives, such as composite resin. Further, because they tend to compress in on themselves when subjected to force instead of chipping like other restorations, they have a longer lifespan, lasting as long as 10 to 15 years. They also have a bacteriostatic effect, meaning they inhibit bacterial reproduction.
4. Where Should Amalgam Fillings Not Be Placed?
While amalgam fillings can be placed anywhere in the mouth, many dentists recommend against placing these dark fillings in highly visible areas, such as the anterior side of the front teeth. Amalgam fillings should also not be placed in people who have allergies to certain metals, such as tin, copper, or silver.
If you have any questions about dental filling materials or prior restorations, reach out to Joy K. Lunan DDS. With a complete commitment to patient care and a focus on safety, this experienced dentist will help with everything from basic tooth restorations and exams to enhancing the beauty of your smile with state-of-the-art techniques. Reach out to her Middlebury, CT, practice by sending her a message online, or give her office a call at (203) 598-7920 to schedule an appointment.