Most of us will have had at least a filling or two, and if we ate a lot of sweets and neglected to clean our teeth properly, probably a great many more. The usual result of this is that we have been given an amalgam filling by our dentist. Amalgam is certainly a very strong material and is made from a mixture of metals which include both silver and mercury. Although there has been some debate about the safety of using mercury, it is still widely used and the mixture is generally accepted as being strong and durable by most dentists.
Apart from any concerns about the mercury used though, the main problem for the patient is that of its colour. The darkness of the material means that each time we smile or laugh, the dark metal shows clearly in our mouths. Although most people have this type of filling it is still not a particularly pleasant site to see.
Alternatives to Amalgam
Because of this, many people are looking to new alternatives and there are now a number of white coloured tooth fillings available from cosmetic dentists. These are usually made from synthetic materials, glass and a setting agent which holds them all together. These can be made to match the colour of the remainder of the existing tooth to make it almost unnoticeable. For a while, it was generally considered that whilst this new white filling material was a great advance on amalgam, it could only be used on the front teeth as it simply wasn’t strong enough to be used on the rear teeth where all the grinding and chewing takes place.
Modern advances though have started to improve this material and it is now often used in rear teeth. This may depend on the extent of the filling needed though and dental advice should be followed.
Although the new whiter fillings are generally used with a new case of decay, it is also possible to remove old amalgam fillings and replace them with this new white material. Doing this will certainly give you a nicer smile as a set of white teeth will be revealed instead of a mixture of teeth and metal as is the case with standard amalgam fillings.
Some patient have expressed concern that even when the old fillings which contained mercury have been removed, there may still be traces of it left. Whilst dentists will do all that they can to remove the mercury, this may well be true. There is evidence however which suggests that a diet rich in green vegetables and fibre are helpful in removing the traces of mercury which may remain in the system.
Kerry-Anne McDonald works in TV and has moved from behind the scenes to a role often in front of the camera. After a colleague pointed out that her amalgam filings were easily seen in footage, she visited Alexandra Dental Care and had the amalgam removed and replaced with the white fillings and hasn’t looked back since.