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          The Treacherous Amalgam Filling

          Amalgam has been used as a dental filling material for a very long time. It is easy to apply for the dentist and it is a very strong material.

          In the early 1990s, concerns arose amongst scientists and discussions started about the safety in using a dental filling material containing a well-known poisonous metal, mercury.

          Serious clinical studies, however, showed that there were no direct health risks such as mercury poisoning, unless you have several large amalgam fillings. And even if you do, very few do actually suffer from the mercury in the fillings, as most of the poisonous metal is removed from the filling in the process of making it.

          Now, there is a completely different aspect to consider, though, when it comes to the old metal filling material, and that is what it does to the soft tissue in your mouth and what it does to the teeth filled with this old material.

          See Also
          6 important things dentists check during routine visits

          Amalgam fillings in contact with soft oral tissue are well-known to increase the risk of tissue changes that can often be pre-carcinogenic (changes that develop and can eventually cause cancer) or lesions that have already developed into cancer.

          Also, the properties of the metal itself, being a low-grade and quite soft material, often has negative effects on the teeth. Medium to large size amalgam fillings are well known to cause cracks and fractures of the teeth as it expands into the tooth during years of biting and chewing. These cracks are impossible to detect on x-rays unless very wide, but then it may already be too late to save the tooth without more extensive treatment such as root canal treatment and crowns. Sometimes, the teeth are so damaged by the old fillings that they have to be extracted.

          Changing smaller amalgam fillings into composites (tooth-coloured fillings), and larger ones to porcelain onlays and crowns can easily save teeth from being irretrievably damaged and can save you from agony and large dental bills.

          Ask your dentist about your old amalgam fillings and how you can best replace them with healthier and safer materials. And there is no need to mention the aesthetical gain in changing a dark grey or black filling into one that is the same colour as your natural tooth.

          A small investment today can save you from serious problems and expensive treatment tomorrow.