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.
- Dental amalgam comprises a mixture of metals, of which approximately 50% is mercury in its liquid form. The other metals used can include tin, silver and copper.
- The fillings themselves are silver in colour, which often leads to them being referred to as "silver" fillings.
- They benefit from being very strong, making them particularly suitable for teeth at the back of the mouth. Here they will also 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.
If you opt for 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.
If you require a filling in your tooth, a cosmetic option would be to choose a white filling material that matches the shade of your surrounding natural teeth. You can also have any existing metallic fillings replaced with tooth-coloured or 'white' fillings. This will allow you to smile without a metallic glint in sight, giving your teeth a more natural appearance overall. Here is how white fillings work:
- This is a safe procedure that entails the removal of any decay from your tooth, and taking out the metal or amalgam fillings if you are having them replaced.
- The new filling is made from a very hard tooth-coloured substance and will withstand the forces in your mouth when you bite and chew over a long period of time.
- The restoration is completed in one visit and your fillings will not be visible when you smile.
In today's world, few of us have the time to visit the dentist for multiple appointments in order to receive dental treatment. At the same time, sitting for hours in a dental chair is not ideal either. One solution to this is called CEREC, a state-of-the-art machine that can make permanent crowns, veneers or onlays for you while you are still in the chair. Here is how it works:
- The dentist will prepare your tooth using a small drill.
- A special camera is then used to take an image of your teeth which is then uploaded to the design unit.
- This image is uploaded to a CAD/CAM unit, which creates a 3D model of your new tooth.
- The model is used by a milling machine, which creates your new tooth from a block of high quality ceramic that best matches your surrounding teeth.
- The restoration is then fixed into place.
- Accurate restoration that strengthens and supports the remaining tooth structure.
- Quick and convenient solution that means you don't need an extra visit to the practice, have to wear a temporary fitting for a few weeks or get anaesthesia twice!
- A natural-looking restoration that blends in well with your surrounding teeth.