WHAT IS AND WHEN TO CHANGE DENTAL AMALGAM?

WHAT IS AND WHEN TO CHANGE DENTAL AMALGAM?

Dental amalgam is a material used regularly to reconstruct teeth damaged by decay, more commonly called ” silver filling. ” It is an alloy of mercury with different metals, such as silver, the most used, or other metals such as gold, tin, zinc, or copper, among others. This imparts a characteristic metallic color when dental amalgam is used on the tooth. Now that we know what we mean, when should we change the dental amalgam? 

Many patients today think that dental amalgam is harmful to health because it contains mercury since it is a heavy metal that can harm us when absorbed by the body.

Mercury has been accused of being a toxic agent that causes severe health disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, myalgic encephalitis, epilepsy, etc. Hence the various confusions about this material and this type of dental treatment.

After numerous studies and investigations, it is ensured that dental amalgam is a safe and effective material for the use of dental restorations, both for children and adults.

Many of our patients who already have amalgam fillings from a long time ago ask us if it is better to remove and change that dental filling and put composite in its place. The truth is that dental amalgam is used less frequently in the dental clinic since it has been gradually replaced by other materials such as composites or ” white materials,” which is also due to the demand for esthetic.

We want to point out that it is not advisable to lift old amalgam fillings unnecessarily, as this can even cause structural damage to healthy teeth that are going to have the filling replaced. The same happens with pregnant women due to the danger of increasing exposure to high levels of mercury to the fetus.

If, on the other hand, we want to change the dental amalgam, we must know that resin materials, because they do not contain metal, do not present the phenomena of oxidation, corrosion, galvanism, as can be the case with fillings. The resin permanently releases fluoride ions to the dental tissue, which prevents the appearance of new cavities in a very high percentage.

On the other hand, it triggers minor wear of the dental tissue. Because the resin or composite adheres firmly to the tooth enamel, there is no need to make additional cavities in the tooth to ensure its retention, as has to be done when placing an amalgam. Dental amalgam is mechanically retained in the tooth, and for this, we need to create in the tooth structure.

Finally, highlight the advantage of dental aesthetics compared to amalgams. The latest generation resins come in a wide range of colors, which helps to mimic the restoration of said dental piece without being noticed. This is how we can use it in posterior teeth, solve caries problems in extensive reconstructions of anterior teeth, and even treat composite veneers.

To finish, we can only say that although a resin restoration is not as cheap as amalgam, it is not so expensive that it is not available to everyone. In addition, we can also opt for dental implants in which a natural appearance of your teeth is achieved.

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By Michael Caine

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