Silver/Amalgam/Mercury Fillings and Tooth Coloured Filling

Fillings

Fillings vary in complexity and material. Some are direct fillings, placed "directly" in a cavity, although others are indirect, wherein an impression of the tooth is taken and a custom filling is created to fit around it. If your dentist suggests a tooth restoration, knowing what's available can help you make the best choice for your mouth.

A composite filling is a tooth-coloured plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Dental amalgam fillings are made from a compound of metals and having a filling is among the most common dental procedures. These fillings have been used as the treatment of choice to fix dental cavities and tooth decay for more than 150 years. It is estimated that, across the world, about 1 billion amalgam fillings are placed annually.

What are amalgam fillings?
  • Dental amalgam comprises a mixture of metals, of which approximately 50% is mercury in its liquid form, with the remainder metals used including tin, silver and copper.
  • The fillings themselves are silver in colour, which often leads to them being referred to as “silver” fillings.
  • The material is very strong, making them particularly suitable for teeth at the back of the mouth. It is also preferable to use amalgam in the back of the mouth as it will be less visible than in the front teeth.
  • Mercury is used to bind the other metals together. It also provides much of the strength. The material is very easy for dentists to manipulate and shape to fill cavities.

Having discussed your options, if you choose an amalgam filling, your dentist will remove the decayed area of your tooth and shape the cavity ready to be filled. Your dentist will mix the powdered metal alloy with the liquid mercury, creating an easy-to-work-with amalgam putty. This is then placed in the cavity and shaped as necessary, before quickly hardening to a strong, durable filling.



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