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Amalgam Fillings

by Dr. O. Karnakova

Amalgam fillings or otherwise known as silver mercury fillings are composed of different metals including silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury as the primary metal. Amalgam fillings were widely used for restorations in the past, but studies now show they may have negative effects on the teeth and overall health. Some cities have even began to place a ban using this material for restorations.

One of the main problems with amalgam fillings is that it corrodes, releasing mercury vapor that can be absorbed into the body. In addition, the metal fillings will expand over time, putting unnecessary stress on the tooth structure. Eventually, the filling itself or the tooth structure may crack or fracture.

Preserving Tooth Structure

by Dr. Olga Karnakova

The practice of dentistry over the years has made many advancements in the conservation of tooth structure when performing restorations. Ideally, only the decayed tooth structure should be removed to keep the procedure as minimally invasive as possible. It is important to maintain as much of the original tooth structure in order to preserve its integrity, strength, and reduce postoperative sensitivity.

An example of choosing a minimally invasive restoration is to use a composite instead of an amalgam filling. Unlike a composite fillings, amalgam does not bind to the tooth structure. Amalgam fillings are composed of metals, and require the drilling of additional tooth structure in order to create enough surface area to hold the filling in place. Amalgam fillings that are too large can cause unnecessary stress on the tooth, and can lead to fractures or recurrent decay.