For over a century, amalgam fillings have been used in the dental field to treat cavities. They are made of dental amalgam, which is a compound of mercury, tin, silver, and copper. Amalgam fillings are silvery in color. Until now, they continue to be essential elements of dental fillings.
Where are Amalgam Fillings used?
Many dental situations call for the use of amalgam fillings. Your dentist can opt for amalgam fillings when:
- You have a large hollow cavity that requires filling
- Your molars and premolars have a hole. The teeth at the back of the mouth must be filled with more amalgam because a lot of pressure is exerted on them during chewing. Amalgam fillings withstand the pressure thus reducing pain
- You have a hollow cavity beneath the gum lining. At this position, amalgam fillings must be used to keep the hole dry.
Benefits of using Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings form an essential part of dental medication because of many reasons. Here are some of their benefits:
- Affordable: Compared to other fillings made of gold and silver, or tooth-colored composites, amalgam fillings are the most affordable in the dental market.
- Durable: Amalgam fillings can last longer than other types of fillings.
- Hardens easily: Since they can harden easily amalgam fillings can be put on any part of the teeth including the regions below the lower teeth. The gum line easily waters and amalgam fillings can be used to fill cavities within the lower gum lining.
Disadvantages of using Amalgam Fillings
Nearly all medical procedures have benefits and disadvantage, and amalgam fillings are no exception. The following are some of the disadvantages of using amalgam fillings:
Compared to other types of fillings, amalgam fillings occupy a lot of space within the tooth. The dentist is forced to remove a significant portion of the natural tissues within the tooth to replace them with the fillings.
It is easier to notice a patient with the amalgam fillings when they eat, laugh, or talk because of their silver coloring. Amalgam fillings do not march with the rest of the mouth. When placed on the incisors, or close to the front mouth, they spoil your smile.
Safety precautions when using amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are a compound of various metals including mercury. Mercury can be poisonous to the body under high concentration. However, the presence of other minerals in the fillings neutralizes mercury making it less toxic. An amalgam filling is safe for use in dental work and patients should not fear using it.
The World Health Organization (WHO), U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the American Dental Association are some of the statutory bodies that have certified and approved the use of amalgam fillings in the dental industry. No research has proved the use of amalgam fillings as being unsafe for the human body.
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