Dental amalgam, in widespread use for over 150 years, is one of the oldest materials used in oral health care. Its use extends beyond that of most drugs, and is predated in dentistry only by the use of gold. Dental amalgam is the end result of mixing approximately equal parts of elemental liquid mercury (43 to 54 percent) and an alloy powder (57 to 46 percent) composed of silver, tin, copper, and sometimes smaller amounts of zinc, palladium or indium.
Those who are not opposed to the use of amalgam point out that it is durable,relatively inexpensive, and easy to use. On average, amalgam last twice as long as resin composites, take less time to place, is tolerant of saliva or blood contamination during placement (unlike composites), and are often about 20-30% less expensive.Consumer Reports has suggested that many who claim dental amalgam is not safe, are “prospecting for disease” and using pseudoscience to scare patients into more lucrative treatment options.
Today, dental amalgam is used in the following situations:
- in individuals of all ages,
- in stress-bearing areas and in small-to-moderate sized cavities in the posterior teeth,
- when there is severe destruction of tooth structure and cost is an overriding consideration,
- as a foundation for cast-metal, metal-ceramic, and ceramic restorations,
- when patient commitment to personal oral hygiene is poor,
- when moisture control is problematic with patients, and
- when cost is an overriding patient concern.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations:
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contains fluoride, it can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Restoration
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!