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DENTAL AMALGAM FILLINGS

   Fillings tend to be a temporary solution rather than 
a permanent one
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      Amalgam fillings (silver) are a mixture of different metals such as 65% silver, 6% copper,2% zinc and 25% tin bound with elemental mercury.  Trituration is the process of mixing these alloys together with mercury.  The mercury makes up between 45-50% of the mixture and acts as glue that binds these metals into a hard stable, and safe substance that can last for decades. 

     These fillings usually last 12 years or longer.  

Silver fillings

There is an increased risk of tooth fracture in teeth with large silver mercury fillings. Teeth are built like trees, that need to be able to flex in the wind without breaking. Large (silver mercury) fillings can let the tooth flex beyond the breaking point and fracture.  Also, the higher the forces on the tooth (bite problems), the higher the risk. You should consider protecting large old silver mercury fillings before the teeth can fracture with crowns.

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  This procedure is done by:
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 First removing the decay from the tooth. 

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The tooth is then shaped in a specific manner in order to accept this filling material.

A matrix band is placed around the tooth to help form the filling
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A band maybe placed around your tooth and the amalgam is "condensed" in to the prepared tooth. 

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The amalgam is than mixed and placed into the tooth.  

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The final filling is then carved and adjusted to your bite.  

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Benefits:

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Strong and long lasting

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They expand over time to fill the entire space of the cavity.

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They are quick and easy to install.

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They are less expensive and more cost effective than composite or while fillings

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They are covered by insurance.*

Disadvantages:

  1. They do break down over time.  The tooth is like a glass shell, while the mercury in an amalgam expands and contracts with temperature change, just as it does in a thermometer.  That places pressure within the tooth.  This filling material act like chisels or like putting a nail or screw into china causing weakening of the enamel walls of the tooth, resulting in a tooth breakage.

  2. Healthy tooth structure needs to be taken in order to lock these fillings into lace, the whole is made larger at the bottom than at the top.  Thus the filling widens at the very place where the tooth starts to narrow as it goes down to the root which creates an inherent weakness in the tooth.

  3. As silver fillings expand, their edges are susceptible to breaking off.

  4. Silver fillings leach into the dentinal tubules inside the tooth, leaving a permanent blue-gray halo that bleaching can not remove.

  5. They can leak, causing decay underneath the filling.*

Home Care:

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Once placed, it can take up to two weeks for your filling to harden completely.  So do NOT chew on this surface for the first 24 hours after placement until it is completely "set".  You may however, safely chew on it after 24 hours.  Remember to chew carefully.

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The tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold liquids and foods for the first four to six weeks or longer.

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Be careful not the chew or bite your lip or gums because this area is numb.  Avoid hot or spicy foods until the numbness wears off.

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It may be difficult to make sure the bite is correct due to being numb.  If you feel the bite is "high" don't wait...call us to have it adjusted.  Teeth can become quite sensitive if the bite is too high.  40,000 pounds per square inch is exerted when chewing on your back teeth which can make this area sore and tender quit quickly.  New fillings cannot stand this kind of pressure and may break.

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If you grind your teeth, mention it to us so that the need for a protective device can be considered to protect your fillings and teeth.

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Avoid eating foods that may stress fillings.  Ice, hard candy and sticky foods should be eaten with caution or avoided entirely.

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Keep in mind that, like other sticky foods, chewing gum may place stress on fillings.

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Brush 2 to 3 times a day, especially before going to bed and floss once a day. 

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Visit us twice a year keep your mouth in great care.

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Amalgams fillings can last for up to 12 or more years

"Dental amalgam is a safe, effective material for filling cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the American Dental Association and numerous health agencies entrusted with protecting the public's health. The only real risk these children face is from untreated dental disease, and the services they receive today will help protect them from that." ADA 2004

Don't Replace Sound Dental Restorations to Ease Chronic Health Problems.

      Minuscule amounts of mercury vapor come out of amalgam fillings when people chew food or brush their teeth.  What is usually overlooked in the mercury controversy is that fact that some forms of mercury are much more toxic than others.  

     By far the most toxic is ethyl mercury, the kind found in fish like shark and tuna.  In contrast, mercury that comes from amalgams exists either as elemental mercury vapor or as tiny bits of inorganic mercury that erode form the surface of amalgams.  Some of the vapor is inhaled and enters the blood stream.  All but a very small amount of this is eliminated in urine. 

      People with more than 8 amalgam fillings absorb no more than 1 to 3 micrograms of mercury vapor per day.  There is:
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NO evidence that amalgam fillings causes systemic diseases

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NO evidence that replacing fillings relieves chronic disease.

Source: *The Silver and The White Ms. Dyett, Beautiful Teeth 22-24 Vol2, No 2, 2004

Silver Fillings Causing Tooth Fractures?

Silver mercury fillings that were placed years ago, before bonding technology may need to be replaced to prevent fractures.  The silver plugged the  holes in your teeth where the cavities were, but it weakened the teeth because it didn’t restore the molecular bonds that nature gave the tooth in the first place.  Your teeth depend on those molecular bonds for optimal strength.No dentist can improve upon the work of nature.  However, bonded fillings don’t just “fill the hole;”  they actually restore 85% of the strength that the tooth had before it had its first filling.  The remaining tooth structure is less likely to flex to the point where it breaks away. 

 

Consumer Reports on Heath, Vol 13 No. 6 pg 11 June 2001.
           ADA     

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