Here at Apple Dental, we’re proud to report it’s been twenty years since our principal dentist Dr Mark Casiglia placed his last amalgam filling. So why is this worth celebrating?
Why We Don’t Use Amalgam
Amalgam is a mixture of different metals including mercury and has been used to fill teeth for
160 years. Not surprisingly technology has advanced during this time. Although a long-lasting metal, amalgam has the potential to cause damage to the teeth it is supposed to restore; this is a real problem in an age when many of us are keeping teeth for longer and we hope for life.
The main issue with amalgam is its tendency to expand and contract under pressure, particularly in molar teeth and especially during the night in anyone who may clench or grind. This increased pressure from expanding amalgams can cause teeth to split or crack. At the very least these cracks can lead to decay-causing bacteria entering the tooth underneath the filling and at the very worst these cracks could penetrate the pulp. This can cause serious infection, leading to the death of the pulp. An infected tooth will need root canal therapy to try to save it or we may have no other option but to extract a badly cracked or splintered tooth.
Modern Filling Materials
For small to medium sized cavities, we can place what is called a composite resin restoration that is made from a special type of hard-wearing tooth coloured plastic. If you have quite a large cavity in a back tooth then we might suggest using a porcelain inlay or onlay. Although this option is a little more expensive it will offer the best protection for your tooth. This is because porcelain is much stronger than composite resin so it will restore strength and structure to your tooth, protecting it against chewing forces. We generally make porcelain inlays while you wait using our CEREC machine so treatment can be completed in one easy visit.
If you do require a filling, we’ll discuss all your options with you and can answer any questions you may have.