Silver Fillings Known As Amalgam

Advantages of Amalgam fillings:
Durability – amalgam fillings last at least 10 to 15 years
Strength amalgam fillings can withstand chewing force
Expense amalgam fillings are less expensive than composite fillings< ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /?>
Disadvantages of amalgam fillings:
Poor aesthetics – amalgam fillings don’t match the color of your natural teeth.
Destruction of more tooth structure – healthy parts of the tooth must often be
removedto make a space large enough to hold an amalgam filling.
Discoloration – amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth
structure.
Cracks and fractures – although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and
cold liquids, which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack or fracture, amalgam material –
by comparison with other filling materials – may experience a wider degree of expansion
and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures
Allergic reactions – a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the
mercury present in amalgam restorations.

Problems With Dental Fillings

Tooth Pain and Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity following placement of a filling is fairly common. A tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods, or temperature. Usually, the sensitivity resolves itself on its own within a few weeks. During this time, avoid those things that are causing the sensitivity. Pain relievers are generally not required.

Contact our office if the sensitivity does not subside within 2 to 4 weeks or if your tooth is extremely sensitive. We may recommend that you use a desensitizing toothpaste, or possibly suggest aroot canalprocedure.

Pain around the fillings can also occur. If you experience pain when you bite, the filling is interfering with your bite. You will need to return to the dentist and have the filling reshaped. If you experience pain when your teeth simply touch, the pain is likely caused by the touching of two different metal surfaces (for example, the amalgam in a newly filled tooth and a gold crown on another tooth with which it touches). This pain should resolve itself on its own within a short period of time.

If the decay was very deep or close to the pulp of the tooth, you may experience a “toothache-type” pain. This “toothache” response may indicate this tissue is no longer healthy. If this is the case, a root canal may be required.

Sometimes people experience what is known as referred pain — pain or sensitivity in other teeth besides the one that received the filling. With this particular pain, there is likely nothing wrong with your teeth. The filled tooth is simply passing along “pain signals” it’s receiving to other teeth. This pain should decrease on its own over 1 to 2 weeks.

Filling Allergies

Allergic reactions to amalgam fillings are rare. Fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported, according to the ADA. In these rare circumstances, mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration is thought to trigger the allergic response. Symptoms of amalgam allergy are similar to those experienced in a typical skin allergy and include skin rashes and itching. Patients who suffer amalgam allergies typically have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. Once an allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used.

Deteriorating Fillings

Constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip, or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.

If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscessed tooth.

If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown ( see crown cap for more info).