Advantages and Disadvantages of Amalgam Fillings

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Sturgill58
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:06 pm

Advantages and Disadvantages of Amalgam Fillings

#1 Post by Sturgill58 »

An often overlooked, but extremely important source of toxic material is the mercury from silver [mercury] Amalgam filling. Some people who are aware of the situation are confused by the mixture of information available. Unfortunately, statements from dental trade organizations and on a few poorly-researched news reports have muddled the situation.

Amalgam filling is made up of Mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc and copper. Mercury is nearly 50 percent of the mixture. It lasts for atleast seven years and is considered to be one of the least expensive restorative materials.

Advantages

• Amalgam fillings are strong and can withstand the forces of chewing.
• They are inexpensive and convenient.
• The filling can be completed during one dental visit.

Disadvantages

• Amalgam doesn't match the color of your teeth.
• Healthy parts of your tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold an amalgam filling.
• Amalgam fillings can corrode over time, causing discoloration where the filling meets the tooth.
• A traditional (non-bonded) amalgam filling does not bond to the tooth. It just sits in a pocket created by your dentist.
• Some people may be allergic to mercury or be concerned about its effects, although research shows the amount of mercury exposure from fillings is comparable to what people get from other sources in the environment.

platinum
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#2 Post by platinum »

I have noticed that the skills of the dentist affect much the end result.
Some of my amalgams were done badly i.e. they leaked or the cavity was not cleaned properly. Other amalgams have been in my mouth for ages and still ok. Same goes with white fillings.

My previous dentist fixed a cavities within 20 minutes... and they broke. My current dentist does fillings properly. Layer by layer, using that plastic thingy etc. And the end results looks really good.

Miss Smiley
Posts: 2008
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 11:59 pm
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#3 Post by Miss Smiley »

My old amalgam fillings lasted me more than 10 years, easy! No leakage, they're ugly but they've held up until I started ortho and the clenching/grinding began. Of course teh composite ones are easier on the eyes, but I didn't enjoy the week of sensitivity.
Upper and lower 1st premolars extracted
Uppers braced 4/6/07 & Lowers braced 4/20/07
ceramic brackets and rectangular arch wires
Est. term: 30-36 months
De-banded: 3/04/09 w/ LBR and U&L Essix

Lisa65
Posts: 3469
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:12 pm

#4 Post by Lisa65 »

All my fillings are amalgam, and they are all at least 25 years old. Admittedly they don't look very attractive, but they're all at the back, so not really visible.

Betty Bat
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Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 8:45 pm

#5 Post by Betty Bat »

So, what does this thread have to do with braces? And, why did Sturgill58 choose to make this the first thing that he/she has ever posted?

Miss Smiley
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 11:59 pm
Location: Sunny SoCal
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#6 Post by Miss Smiley »

Um.........iono......maybe because some of people who are braced have fillings.....? It was an interesting read though.
Upper and lower 1st premolars extracted
Uppers braced 4/6/07 & Lowers braced 4/20/07
ceramic brackets and rectangular arch wires
Est. term: 30-36 months
De-banded: 3/04/09 w/ LBR and U&L Essix

Lisa65
Posts: 3469
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:12 pm

#7 Post by Lisa65 »

I'm not sure why either, but I still found it interesting.

KriegeR
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:53 pm
Location: Wakefield, UK

#8 Post by KriegeR »

Interesting posts there.

I think the general consensus within the scientific community at the moment is that the mercury leakage from amalgam fillings MAY be responsible for memory problems, especially in adults. I think they have done a number of studies around this possibility, and they found a tentative link between the number of mercury amalgam fillings, and memory performance within those studied.

However this is still an unproven link so I don't think there is too much to worry about. I have loads of mercury fillings from when I was younger, so if anyone's at risk it's me. When I was younger I hardly used to eat sugary stuff, and I brushed my teeth well 3 times a day. Despite this nearly every time I went to the dentist, they found a cavity that needed filling! :(

Lisa65
Posts: 3469
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:12 pm

#9 Post by Lisa65 »

I think most of us in our 30s and 40s plus had that situation KreigeR :( I've always looked after my teeth, wasn't allowed a lot of sweets, yet it seemed like everytime I went to the dentist as a kid, I needed another filling.
I think dentists back then were just keener to "drill and fill" at the first sign of trouble.

lionfish
Posts: 2635
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 4:16 pm
Location: emerald city, oz

#10 Post by lionfish »

I grew up without the benefits of fluoride in the water supply, so almost as they erupted my second molars were filled and, in some cases, refilled, ditto my wisdom teeth.

I've got amalgam fillings that go back more than 30 years and I must say I'm loath to muck around with them unless they give trouble (fingers crossed).

KriegeR
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:53 pm
Location: Wakefield, UK

#11 Post by KriegeR »

Well that is quite interesting, and when I look back at when all this happened, it all stemmed from the same dentist.

I was one of the kids lucky enough (or unlucky depending on how you look at it), to get on the books with the school dentist. However as I said before nearly every time I went I seemed to have teeth pulled (only one adult tooth thank god), fillings, uncomfortable cleaning sessions, and scrapes. I think it was all this discomfort, and the cost of private dentistry in the UK which made me stop going for 6 years. When I finally plucked up the courage to go back I was lucky enough to get on the books with an NHS dentist, and I had to have 4 fillings straight off (probably due to 6 years without seeing a dentist). However once I had these done, I haven't had a filling since so i suppose what you two have said is right!

rsprouse
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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#12 Post by rsprouse »

Dentistry across the globe is quite different. I have my personal opinions on work that I have seen from different countries. There are places out there where if I was traveling and had a problem, I would refrain from any treatment as it is typically **that** bad. You see different treatment decisions based on culture, training, and experience.

The geriatric crowd out there with a mouth full of silver fillings (had to take the shot :lol: ) is simply a generation thing. Modern materials are bonded/glued to the tooth and require no set tooth reduction to place the material. On the other hand, amalgam requires at least 1.5 mm of reduction to be placed. So if you have a small cavity in enamel or just into dentin, you have/had to remove extra healthy tooth to place the filling. Throw in sealants and fluoridated water and you have a big change. That being said it is a time honored debate in the dental community. I have my own personal beliefs on amalgam. But anyone will tell you that it is a time tested durable material. There are also a lot of negatives about the material, but it works in many cases. Everyone out there is simply a pawn in their own dentists beliefs on what material to use. With the aesthetic demands of most people these days a bonded tooth colored filling is the way to go.

As an aside, I saw a new patient last week that had a gold foil on a lower incisor. It looked like a crown where the porcelain had worn away exposing the framework. We chatted for a bit and it turns out the restoration happened over 50 years ago when he was a kid. It was ugly compared to what it could look like. But by clinical standards it was perfect 50+ years later. Very impressive!

Just my $0.02...

Best,
Rory --> Already annoyed when patients or one of my assistants call me "Sir"

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