Amalgam is a combination of metals like silver, tin and copper, and small amounts of zinc, indium, or palladium and has been effectively used for dental fillings for years. A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc., especially in posterior teeth that are more prone to pressure and wear from chewing and biting forces. The main advantage of silver amalgam fillings is that they are more durable compared to composite fillings.
The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling. Though silver fillings/amalgam fillings are not aesthetically pleasing as their tooth-colored counterparts, they are preferred by many for back teeth due to their durability and lower cost.
Like most other dental restoration methods, amalgam fillings are also not permanent and may need replacement someday. However, they are very durable and will last many years if taken care of well, giving you a long-lasting smile.
Use of amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are used for dental fillings in the following circumstances:
- To repair cracked or broken teeth.
- To fill decayed teeth.
- To restore worn teeth.
Amalgam fillings usually need a single appointment at the dentist's office. After numbing the tooth, your dentist will remove the decay, clean the area and prepare the area carefully before the new filling is placed. Your dentist may apply a special medication for added protection if the decay is near the nerve of the tooth. He will then place the precisely shaped, polished amalgam filling in the area, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
You may experience sensitivity to hot and cold when amalgam fillings are first placed. However, this will subside shortly after the tooth gets adjusted to the new filling. You will be given post-care instructions after your treatment. By maintaining proper oral hygiene,following good eating habits, and by visiting dentist regularly, the durability of your new fillings can be increased.