What are Amalgam Fillings?
Amalgam fillings, often called ‘silver fillings’, blend metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. They have been used for over a century and are known for their durability, making them a preferred choice for large cavities and those in the back teeth where chewing pressure is highest.
The Risks of Amalgam Fillings
The main risk associated with amalgam fillings comes from the mercury content. When you chew or drink hot liquids, tiny amounts of mercury vapour can be released, which you then inhale. However, numerous scientific studies and reviews have concluded that the levels of mercury in amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages six and above. Pregnant women, people with mercury allergies, and those with kidney impairments should avoid amalgam fillings due to potential risks.
Should I have Amalgam Fillings replaced with Resin Fillings?
The decision to replace amalgam fillings with resin or composite fillings is a personal one that should be made in consultation with your dentist. Factors to consider include:
- Aesthetics: Unlike amalgam fillings, resin fillings match the colour of your teeth, providing a more natural appearance.
- Preservation of Tooth Structure: Resin fillings require less tooth structure removal than amalgam fillings.
- Allergies: If you have an allergy to any component of amalgam fillings, a resin filling would be a suitable alternative.
- Durability: Although amalgam fillings are more durable, advancements in dental technology have significantly improved the durability of resin fillings.
- The Condition of Your Current Fillings: If your amalgam fillings are worn, broken, or decay underneath the filling, replacement with resin fillings might be warranted.
Before deciding to replace amalgam fillings, it’s essential to consider the potential risks. Removing amalgam fillings can temporarily increase mercury exposure and may lead to the unnecessary loss of healthy tooth structure.
Other Restorative Dental Options vs Amalgam Fillings?
There are several alternatives to amalgam fillings that you can consider, all of which should be discussed with your dentist to determine the best fit for your dental needs. Here are the most commonly used alternatives:
- Composite Resin Fillings: Composite resin fillings are designed to match the colour of your teeth, making them a more aesthetically pleasing option than amalgam fillings. These fillings are also good for small to mid-sized cavities and can be used on front and back teeth.
- Porcelain (Ceramic) Fillings: Ceramic fillings, often made from porcelain, are durable and aesthetically pleasing. They are more resistant to staining than composite resin but can also be more abrasive. These fillings can be colour-matched to your teeth and are typically used for larger cavities or restorations.
- Glass Ionomer Fillings: These are a mix of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. They are not as durable as composite or ceramic fillings, but they release fluoride, which can help prevent further decay. They are typically used for fillings below the gum line or small cavities.
- Gold Fillings: Gold fillings, or inlays, are well-tolerated by gum tissues and are extremely durable. Some people also find gold more appealing than silver amalgam fillings. However, these are often the most expensive option and require more than one office visit to place.
Each option has pros and cons, and the right choice depends on several factors, including the location and size of the cavity, aesthetic considerations, cost, and personal preference. Always consult your nearest dentist to determine the best option for your dental needs.
Amalgam fillings are a durable and cost-effective choice for tooth restoration. However, many prefer resin fillings due to aesthetics and concerns about mercury. Discuss the best choice for your oral health with your dentist at Amazing Smiles. Our skilled dental professionals will guide you through every step, ensuring you’re confident in your dental care decisions.
Please make an appointment with an Amazing Smiles Restorative Dentist Near Me
- Dentist Gold Coast: 12 Nerang-Broadbeach Road. Nerang QLD 4211
- Dentist Logan: 45 Wembley Rd. Logan QLD 4114
- Dentist Jimboomba: Shop 12 Jimboomba Convenience Centre 133-145 Brisbane Street Jimboomba QLD 4280
- Dentist Bray Park: Shop 14 Kensington Village Kensington Way, Bray Park QLD 4500
- Dentist Wynnum: 122 Bay Tce, Wynnum QLD 4178