Amalgam Fillings in London
Your London dentist will tell you some of the advantages of amalgam fillings. The use of amalgam fillings in dentistry has been known for approximately 150 years. Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury and several metals, such as silver, tin, copper, and zinc. It has been used for so long due to its advantages over other filling materials. It is cheap, strong, durable, easy to use, and bacteriostatic (i.e., it stops the growth of bacteria). In the past, the choices of restorations were either amalgam or hot boiled gold that had to be hammered into the tooth. The hammered gold technique could damage the tooth, so amalgam became the widely accepted restorative filling material. More recently, there has been concern over the mercury contained in the amalgam fillings. The main question is if mercury in amalgam harmful to the patient and/or environment. Therefore, the mercury content in amalgam fillings was lowered.
Amalgam is viewed as versatile and outstanding dental restoration, in that it is easy to place into the tooth and manipulate before it sets, and is inexpensive. It also lasts twice as long as composite fillings, 10-12 years versus 5-6 years, respectively. Amalgam procedures are usually not as complex or time consuming as composite fillings. The composite techniques require greater care and are more sensitive, requiring precision handling, a dry field, and more procedures to place than an amalgam filling. Amalgam, being bacteriostatic, stops the growth of bacteria at the margins of the filling and tooth, while the basic ingredients of composite fillings actually promote bacterial growth. Thus, bacterial growth under amalgams occurs much more slowly than under composite fillings. This is usually a factor in failure of restorations. Visit your London dental clinic for more information.