If you or your child has recently gotten a cavity for the first time, you may be wondering what your options are. Although there are several types of fillings available, many people find that traditional amalgam, or silver, fillings are less expensive and more durable than other materials.
While you may need to take the location of your cavity into consideration before choosing the most visible type of filling, we generally recommend dental amalgam fillings for cavities that are in the back of your mouth or on the back of your teeth if you are looking for a cost-effective option that is made to last.
What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Amalgam fillings are the most common type of filling that is used to fill cavities. Often referred to as "silver fillings," these fillings are made of a mixture of metals, such as copper, tin, and silver. Although they are not as aesthetically-pleasing as white ceramic fillings that blend into your teeth, they are a less expensive option for less visible parts of your teeth that usually last throughout your lifetime.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
Getting amalgam fillings is relatively simple compared to other types of dental procedures. Once your mouth is numbed, your dentist will remove any tooth decay and even out the surface of the cavity to make it easier to completely fill. He or she will then create a soft amalgam putty by mixing the materials, which is placed into the cavity before it quickly hardens.
Benefits of Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are less expensive and more durable than other types of fillings. These benefits make them particularly good options for patients who are especially prone to tooth decay or have especially large cavities, and they also bond to your teeth better than other materials. Although there are several newer types of fillings available, amalgam fillings have been used in hundreds of millions of people over the last 150 years.
Potential Risks of Amalgam Fillings
Although most people never experience any issues, it is important to note that amalgam fillings contain a small amount of mercury, which can be problematic for people who are especially sensitive to mercury. You should consult your doctor before receiving amalgam fillings if you are allergic to mercury or any of the other metals in them, such as tin, silver, or copper, as well if you:
- Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant in the near future, or are nursing
- Have neurological or kidney problems, which can be further complicated by inhaling even a small amount of mercury
- Are considering amalgam fillings for a child under age six
Amalgam Fillings Are a Long-Term Solution
Not all types of dental work are intended to last forever, but your amalgam fillings should never need to be replaced in most situations. Although it is possible for amalgam fillings to come out while eating or become damaged by decay, these instances are rare, and the FDA generally does not recommend removing or replacing them. You can expect that choosing amalgam fillings will be your most cost-effective and long-term solution for cavities in less-visible parts of your teeth.
At Today's Dental, we provide dental amalgam fillings to patients throughout the Omaha area as a cost-effective and long-term solution for a variety of types of cavities. We are here to answer any questions you may have about the pros and cons of amalgam fillings or other types of fillings. We are currently open during our regular hours to meet your family's routine and emergency dental needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment!