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What Causes Amalgam Filling Failure

A commonly made misconception is that your silver amalgam filling will last forever. Amalgam fillings are highly durable but are not meant to last forever. You can typically expect the average amalgam filling to last fifteen years in the mouth before needing a replacement.
Overall, amalgam fillings are very strong but will eventually fail and must be replaced with a new filling. Amalgam fillings are made with a mixture of silver, mercury, copper, tin, and zinc. Since amalgam fillings are made with metals, they are sensitive to force, temperature, and traditional aging.

What causes an Amalgam Filling to fail?

Many conditions in your mouth may cause your amalgam filling to fail, including how long the amalgam filling has been in your mouth, traditional wear and tear of the filling, the naturally occurring moisture in your mouth, and intense temperature changes in the mouth.

Fillings are forced to endure an intense amount of force. This happens through biting food, clenching the teeth, chewing gum, and even grinding the teeth. Over time, your amalgam fillings color can change from silver to black due to corrosion and their edges start to wear down. Corrosion of the filling will not affect the strength or functionality of the filling; however, it can cause further issues. Since dark fillings conduct temperatures differently, you are more likely to experience swelling of the filling that can compromise your tooth health.

Temperature changes in the mouth can cause the filling to expand and contract. This can cause tension on the tooth the filling is attached to, initiating microfractures and small gaps within the amalgam filling and the tooth.

Amalgam fillings swell, break down, and oxidize when they absorb the naturally occurring moisture in the mouth. Expansion of the filling can generate a wedging effect to begin with the tooth and the filling which can cause fractures in the tooth and in severe cases, may break off part of the tooth structure. Expansion of fillings can also cause lifting of the fillings surface, forming a gap where the filling and tooth were once attached. This allows bacteria, food, and even additional decay to develop on the tooth.

Replacing the Filling

After discovering a failing amalgam filling, replacing it with another treatment as soon as possible is essential to protect your tooth’s health. Several treatments are available for tooth decay, including dental fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. Dental treatments are crafted from a variety of different dental materials leaving you with many options. It is best to consult with your dentist in order to find the best form of restoration for your dental concern.

Schedule a Consultation

It is important to maintain routine dental exams up to twice a year in order to examine the health of your mouth and teeth. A dentist may notice issues that are hard for you to detect on your own. If you are interested in an appointment, contact us to schedule an appointment with South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, Nevada.

Failing Amalgam Fillings

Dental fillings may fail for a number of reasons, but fixing them is not typically a big issue. That’s not necessarily the case for amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings can release a small amount of mercury vapor when they fail and that can lead to certain health risks in some patients. Even removing the filling can release a small amount of mercury vapor but it can be necessary to ensure your tooth is protected and you maintain good oral health.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings, commonly known as silver fillings, are actually made of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are typically about half mercury while the rest is a combination of other metals. They are durable and when properly taken care of, can last for years. But in some situations, they can start to wear down, chip, or even begin to leak and may need to be removed or replaced with another filling.

What Causes Amalgam Fillings to Fail?

There are a variety of reasons for amalgam fillings to fail including:

● Extreme temperature changes in the mouth which can cause the metal to expand and contract and lead to a fracture in the tooth
● Filling may wear down due to chewing and everyday wear and tear
● Moisture in the mouth can cause the filling to swell
● Excessive grinding or blunt force
● Regular or excessive smoking and drinking
● Recurrent decay or decay that occurs under the filling

When an amalgam filling fails, the tight seal between the filling and the tooth is broken which allows bacteria to become trapped there. This bacteria can eat at the tooth enamel and the tooth structure and lead to decay. If you’re experiencing any sensitivity, inflammation, discomfort, or pain in a tooth with an amalgam filling, call us to schedule an appointment at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics today.

Replacing the Filling

If your filling is in good condition and there is no decay beneath the filling, removal of the amalgam filling is not recommended or even necessary. Why? Because removing the filling may result in losing some of the tooth structure and increase the risk of mercury vapor being released during the removal process.

If the filling is failing or worn down, then it can be moved and replaced with another filling, inlay, onlay, or crown that is made up of a different dental material. After one of our staff at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics examines the filling in question, we can recommend the best solution for your situation.

The removal of failing amalgam filling is especially important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers, children, and anyone who is allergic to mercury. It can also harm those with neurological impairments or kidney dysfunction.

Schedule A Consultation

Are you struggling with an amalgam filling that is worn down or chipped? Now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Our dentists can help determine what the problem is and have a new filling placed in no time. Whether it’s a filling or another issue, we are dedicated to ensuring you have the best oral health possible.

To schedule a consultation today, please call our Reno, NV office at (775) 413-2976 or use our online scheduling form.