You may have heard stories about dental fillings being dangerous to you or your children, and wondered if you have a filling if you are at an increased risk for developing other diseases or injuries. Unfortunately, there are many rumors that abound about fillings and filling material used to treat cavities, and many of these are simply not true. This article will discuss silver fillings (commonly known as metal fillings or dental amalgram) and the safety of these types of fillings.
Dental amalgram fillings are silver in color, and are made by combining small amounts of many different types of metal. One of the types of metal used in the dental fillings is mercury in a very small amount, and it is the mercury that has caused the controversy and concern through the years.
Mercury, when ingested alone, is dangerous to humans. However, the mercury used in amalgram fillings containts other trace metals, including silver, tin and copper. When elemental mercury is combined with other trace metals it is no longer dangerous to individuals.
Amalgram fillings have been extensively researched and continue to be used by dentist because of their strength, cost, and ease of use. If you have an amalgram filling, you should know that there is no risk posed to you in this process. Many organizations have researched this and determined that amalgram fillings are biocompatible.
If you have concerns about your dental fillings, talk to your dentist about this. Until you can see your dentist, rest assured that the fillings in your mouth are not likely to hurt you, and are safe for use. They do not need to be replaced or removed, and you will not suffer any ill consequences from them.
Posted on the behalf of Flat Creek Family Dentistry
Silver fillings, or amalgam fillings are the silver-colored restorations that are placed in areas of larger decay or where tooth colored fillings are not appropriate. Because of their unique design, silver fillings can be placed in areas of small or even large decay. They may also be used to patch a tooth that has had root canal therapy before a permanent crown can be placed on the tooth.
Amalgam fillings are a slightly more economical choice compared to other types of dental treatments. The fillings are made up of an alloy of different metals including silver, copper and tin. The compound is mixed immediately before placement and is shaped into the area in need of repair, where it quickly solidifies after being placed by the dentist.
The age of some silver dental fillings can last upward to over 20 years. Adults that grew up having extensive dental work typically have silver fillings in their back teeth. As these fillings wear out and are in need of re-treatment, it is an option to replace smaller silver fillings with tooth colored ones. If the filling is larger, it will need to be replaced with another silver filling or a crown. Silver fillings are not typically used on the front teeth, as they are not an aesthetic treatment option.
Silver fillings are becoming less common as tooth colored restorative materials improve, but they are still a very viable treatment option especially for teeth that do not show when you talk or smile. They wear very well and fit in areas that aren’t appropriate for other types of restorations, allowing you to treat larger areas of decay with a filling rather than go directly to a larger restoration such as a crown.
If you are like most people you probably have at least one or two silver dental fillings. This silver colored tooth filling material is called amalgam and has been used for filling cavities for over one hundred years. Amalgam is a mixture of silver, mercury and other metals and in recent years there has been some concern over whether amalgam is safe due to the mercury.
The Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, and the American Dental Association all say that the mercury level in amalgam is safe, but some consumer groups have become concerned about the danger of any level of mercury in the filling material.
Fortunately there is an alternative to amalgam fillings. Composite fillings contain no mercury so they pose no risk of mercury poisoning. Composite fillings have other advantages that tip the scales in favor of replacing amalgam fillings even if the concerns about mercury poisoning turn out to be unfounded.
As an initial matter, composite fillings are tooth colored instead of silver so a tooth with a composite filling looks completely natural. You can smile with confidence, even if you have a mouth full of composite fillings.
Next, composite fillings are stronger than amalgam and have a stronger bond to your teeth. Less tooth material needs to be removed in order for a composite filling to securely bond to the tooth and the filled tooth will be stronger. The filling and the tooth are both less likely to crack or break.
Finally, composite fillings are less likely to lead to tooth sensitivity. If you cannot eat a bowl of ice cream without pain from tooth sensitivity, replacing your silver fillings with composite fillings may help.
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