Amalgam Filling Replacement Cairns
Amalgam fillings – is it ok to leave them in my teeth?
Mercury-containing amalgam fillings have been in use for over 100 years and are a very out-dated technology. The reason why they still seem to be done is short-term cost savings for the patient and even very poorly equipped dental facilities can easily cater to doing this type of filling.
Technically, they represent the easiest fillings to place and it is possibly justifiable in third world countries where advanced dentistry in not readily available. We see no other advantages of this technology and have held a policy of removing amalgam fillings at Future Dental since the late 1980’s.
Why do we remove them?
Amalgam fillings quite simply cause irreversible cracking to the tooth. This is caused by three factors:
- Firstly, there is a difference in the expansion and contraction of this metallic alloy compared to normal tooth structure with temperature changes with eating and drinking. This puts a stress in the tooth with every thermal cycle. Young healthy teeth are still resilient and can stretch with the filling. About the mid-thirties, this natural resiliency of teeth starts to diminish and stresses that the tooth previously tolerated eventually cause stress cracks and fractures to occur.
- Secondly, various different amalgam alloys will slowly expand due to a chemical reaction with the trace amounts of zinc in the material as it reacts with water (saliva) and this causes a gradual swelling of the filling. This further stresses the tooth at a time when the tooth is already getting weaker.
- Thirdly, a metallurgical property of amalgam is static creep. This means as you continue putting chewing pressures on the top of the tooth, the filling gradually flattens out and swells out sideways.
These three factors cause the very high incidence of cracks and fractures in those teeth that have amalgam fillings.
Cracks cause three problems
- Firstly, just like a crack in a windscreen, a crack in a tooth only gets bigger and deeper. The tooth becomes greatly weakened and likely to start causing sharp pains which will require a crown to restore the strength of the tooth and eliminate the pain, temperature and sweet sensitivity.
- Secondly, when the crack continues down to the nerve (pulp) of the tooth, the nerve will most likely die and you will require a root canal treatment to eliminate the abscess which will follow the nerve invasion of bacteria through the crack. This will likely cost as much or even more than the cost of the crown that the tooth already needs.
- Thirdly, and fortunately, less frequently, the tooth can split in two and then usually the only option is an emergency extraction.
Each tooth filled with amalgam is a time bomb just waiting to blow up at the most inconvenient time. Quite often removal of all your amalgams is cheaper than waiting for an emergency procedure or an extraction with the subsequent need to replace the tooth with a bridge or implant.
We have had numerous patients tell us how their overall health improved after ridding themselves of these fillings. There is no question as to the long-term toxicity issues associated with mercury. If you still have amalgam fillings, the longer you leave them, the more likely you are to suffer the costly and often painful complications that they cause.