Amalgam fillings, also known as silver-coloured fillings, are made from a combination of metals such as tin, copper, silver and mercury. This combination of metals gives amalgam its renowned strength and durability. These fillings usually last between 10 – 15 years compared to composite fillings which typically last about 5-10 years. Because of its strength, these fillings are particularly useful for use on the molars in the back of the mouth, where the most chewing occurs. Its silver colour is also less visible when placed on molars in the back of the mouth. As an added benefit, amalgam fillings are typically more cost effective than composite “white” fillings. However, due to the colour of amalgam fillings, most patients prefer to have composite fillings placed.
How it’s done
The procedure is done by first removing the decaying portion of the tooth. Once that is complete, the tooth is shaped in a specific way to accept the filling. The amalgam is then placed into the tooth. A band maybe placed around your tooth during the process to help the amalgam condense. The filling is then adjusted and polished to fit your bite for maximum comfort.
After you’ve had your tooth filled with amalgam, you may experience a temporary period of heightened hot and cold tooth sensitivity. Additionally amalgam fillings do not harden instantaneously, and it’s advisable to avoid chewing in that area for a few hours. Make sure to consult your dentist to understand which type of filling is right for you.