Can you believe that those silver-coloured fillings called ‘amalgam’ have been around since 1812? Yep, they were created by a British chemist more than 200 years ago!
Amalgam is a very specific mixture of metals. It consists of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of silver, tin, and copper. They bind together to form a putty, which quickly sets. After being positioned in the tooth hole, it sets to form a strong filling.
These days, many clients request to have their old silver amalgam fillings replaced with white fillings, mainly for aesthetic reasons but sometimes for a perceived health risk.
No, there is no safety issue.
The issue that concerns many people is the health risk of leaking mercury from the silver fillings. However, the mercury of the amalgam is bound together to the tin and copper, so once it’s set, there’s no liquid mercury present anymore.
At Taree Dental Care we see hundreds of amalgam fillings every week. Many of them have been in mouths for 10 or 20 years.
Rest assured, amalgam doesn’t pose a health risk. It’s safe for adults, as well as children who are six and over. The Australian Dental Association continues to support the use of amalgam fillings. However, they suggest minimising their use in pregnant or breastfeeding women, by children under 6, and by people with kidney disease.
Rest assured the weight of evidence doesn’t establish any association between amalgam and any adverse health effects.
If the old fillings are in good condition with no decay beneath them, we do not generally recommend their removal just for the sake of it.
There are a number of reasons why amalgam fillings are not used anymore.
White fillings are definitely more aesthetically appealing. It’s not very attractive to have silver fillings in your teeth, particularly if they show when you smile.
With advancements in technology, these days dentists have more aesthetic materials on offer. Composite resin and porcelain last just as long as amalgam if done properly.
If a client wishes to replace the old silver filling for aesthetic reasons – particularly when it’s visible in a smile – then we are very happy to help with a new ‘tooth-coloured’ filling.
Sometimes the old silver fillings start to break down as they come to the end of their longevity. This simply means that the interface between the filling and the tooth is starting to separate. If there are gaps occurring, this allows bacteria to get into that space and create a potential cavity.
So please don’t panic, it’s not the mercury that’s leaking — it’s just the fillings breaking down.
There’s no real urgency in getting the old amalgam’s filling replaced unless the silver filling is not doing the job it was designed to do.
Most importantly, rest assured that you’re not going to be poisoned by the old style filling.
So the take-home message here is that the best filling is no filling at all! Just remember daily brushing, flossing and practice good oral hygiene!
If you are concerned in any way about your amalgam fillings, or your teeth and gums in general, just call our caring dental team at Taree Dental Care on 6550 0960 or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. 👍
You would not live with a chronic eye or ear infection, would you? Yet 45% of the population over 65 years live with a chronic infection known as gum disease, or periodontitis.
Most people don’t realise they have this disease – but it is a serious, and very treatable, infection.
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and the infection can actually spread throughout the body. Research shows that gum disease is associate with heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and even pre-term delivery in pregnancy.
From these studies, it has been shown that men with gum disease are 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers. Very good reasons to take care of your gums.
The good news is that gum disease can be treated!
For years it was thought that the bacteria linked to gum disease was linked to other disease in the body. Current research now shows that in fact it’s inflammation which is responsible for the link. Therefore treating gum disease and the inflammation will not only help manage periodontal diseases, but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Gum disease is often silent. That means that the symptoms may not actually appear until the disease has advanced to a more severe stage.
The treatment for gum disease depends on the severity.
For starters, coming to see us at Taree Dental Care and having a full checkup with one of our dentists, is a great way to assess your gum health.
You can get your gums healthy again. If you have mild to moderate gum disease, it can be treated simply with regular brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and regular check-ups with us including frequent dental cleanings. It may also help to review your diet and lifestyle choices. Quitting smoking would also go along way towards healthier gums.
With more severe cases, specific treatment is required. The treatment can vary from sub gingival cleaning and in severe cases we may refer you to a periodontist for treatment of the infected area.
If a disease in your gums is not caught soon enough, sometimes it is necessary to replace natural teeth with implants, restorations, bridges, or even dentures.
And remember, gum disease IS preventable. But lets catch it early.
If you are concerned in any way about the health of your gums, just call our caring dental team at Taree Dental Care on 6550 0960 or drop us an email email@example.com.
Your teeth and gums are so important and we can help you to keep them in ship-shape.
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