For over 100 years, dentists have been placing dental amalgam in patient’s teeth, because there was nothing better available to the profession. However, over the years, these metal and mercury fillings became deteriorated in the moist, acidic oral environment and began to leak around the filling margins. The first sign is that the filled teeth began to look dark and dead. If left unattended, the tooth fractured and often needed advanced dental treatment to repair it. As research discovered newer materials to fill teeth, dental amalgam was sidelined.

Composite is a material that closely resembles tooth dentin and enamel and is far better than amalgam. The tooth looks alive and the material does not corrode in a moist environment. Therefore, most dental clinics around the world, do not use dental amalgam and many have focused on removing dental amalgam and replacing it. Composite is much kinder on the tooth, but like all procedures, it must be done skillfully.

One side effect of a poorly performed composite filling is tooth sensitivity. If the cavity is deep and close to the nerve, it is often necessary to insulate the nerve with a liner. Without this additional step, the tooth becomes sensitive as the nerve reacts to the composite.  The images below are from one of our cases, and the white filling is over 10 years old.

replace old amalgam fillings

Graeme was worried about the old amalgam filling which was becoming increasingly discolored . He had not realized that the adjacent tooth had significant early decay as well.

Catching the decay as it starts and when treated early, is less damaging to your tooth. Preventive Care is also cost effective.

At Caring 4 Smiles, we perform a risk assessment on every patient’s mouth and we advise Preventive Care to be done in a timely manner. This avoids catastrophic damage to the tooth and saves a lot of expensive dental work down the track.