We recommend a filling when a tooth is damaged by decay or wear and tear, or when a tooth’s surface needs to be evened out to improve your bite.
At Castle Donington dental care, we use various materials for fillings, though by far, tooth coloured composite fillings remain the most popular. These materials bond into the structure of your tooth allowing for minimally invasive treatment and enhancing not just the appearance but also the integral strength. Other common filling materials include amalgam (most commonly known as silver or metal filling) and a softer type of white filling material called glass ionomer.
From a small chip on a tooth to a larger filling, tooth coloured composite is used in many ways to restore beauty and strength.
Filling is a straightforward process requiring only one or two appointments. An anaesthetic is used to numb the area and to ensure you are comfortable throughout. Once the area has been cleaned, the tooth is filled and set. It’s then polished and any necessary minor adjustments are made.
The life expectancy of a filling varies, but if cared for correctly, fillings can last for well over 5 years.
Are metal fillings bad for my health?
Amalgam or metal/silver fillings have been in use for over 150 years and until the arrival of the white fillings, they had been the material of choice. Nowadays, although progressively being replaced by white fillings, they are still used routinely and successfully on many cases. In fact, there are cases where an amalgam filling proves to be superior to a white one, or even the only choice, as it is much less sensitive to moisture and bleeding.
Recently, there has been a lot of debate as to whether amalgam fillings are safe for the patients or not, mainly due to the fact that they contain mercury which can be toxic to humans. In some countries, their use has significantly been reduced, whilst in others they have been fully banned.
However, there is no concrete proof that they can be harmful to people, as the amount of mercury contained in them is very small. To this day, there is not adequate literature to support the theory that amalgam fillings could be harmful to people, although certain groups of people may be more susceptible to potential adverse effects.
Amalgam fillings are still available on the NHS throughout the UK and they are the filling material of choice for many cases. In Castle Donington Dental Care, we provide a wide range of filling materials, including amalgam, but we have taken the following measures in order to prevent our patients and staff from exposure to free mercury.
- Strict mercury disposal protocol
- Amalgam waste handled by an authorised waste management establishment
- No use of amalgam fillings to pregnant or breastfeeding women
- No use of amalgam to children under the age of 15 years old
- No use of amalgam to people with existing neurological disease or kidney impairment.
- Use of amalgam separators
- Pre-dosed encapsulated form of amalgam
If you have been offered an amalgam filling but you do not wish to have one, please talk to your dentist and he or she will be happy to offer you alternative options.