Amalgam fillings are a well-established and inexpensive way to repair tooth decay or damage. They offer a highly effective way to restore the structure and functionality of a tooth, particularly the back teeth. This type of filling has been used for over 150 years, so it has been tried and tested on millions of mouths.
Having a filling is an extremely common procedure (around 8 million cavities are treated with amalgam fillings each year in the UK) and most of us, at some point in our lives, will have a cavity that needs attention. Amalgam fillings are the traditional choice, made from a combination of metals including tin, copper, silver and mercury. Though the inclusion of mercury has attracted some controversy, a number of scientific studies have concluded that it has no adverse side effects.
An alternative type of filling would be used for those patients who have an allergy to any of the metals within the amalgam and would also be recommended for women who require treatment while they are pregnant.
Extremely hard wearing
Quicker to place than composite fillings
Less expensive than alternative methods
The area to be treated is numbed with a local anaesthetic and the decayed area of the tooth removed with special dental tools.
A base or liner may be placed in the tooth to prevent sensitivity following the procedure.
The amalgam is mixed and then placed in the tooth. It is tightly compacted to ensure every part of the cavity is filled.
The amalgam is then shaped to resemble the tooth and, if necessary, it is smoothed down so it feels comfortable in your mouth.
If looked after properly, amalgam fillings can last for years and are particularly suitable for teeth that are subjected to lots of wear and tear, such as those at the back of the mouth. Less noticeable composite (white) fillings can be to treat decayed teeth but these can be more expensive and less durable.
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is also better known as Root Canal Treatment. Root Canal Treatment becomes necessary when the nerve of a tooth becomes irreversibly damaged, and therefore has to be surgically removed.
Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. Most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms.