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.