Silver alloy, also known as dental amalgam, was the very first filling material used in dentistry. 150 years later, it’s still one of the most popular filling types used by modern dentists. on this page, we’ll explain its upsides, downsides and the services we offer in our clinic.
Despite the name, silver alloy fillings are rarely if ever pure silver; instead, they’re made from a combination of silver, tin, copper and non-reactive mercury.
First used in the 19th century, this kind of alloy has numerous advantages. It’s inexpensive, lasts a long time and doesn’t irritate the soft tissues in your mouth.
This makes it a frequently used material in the 21st century - even though it’s now mostly relegated to teeth others can’t see.
Silver Alloy Downsides
Silver alloy is a metal, which means it does have several disadvantages. First, it oxidizes over time, changing color and creating microgaps between the filling and the tooth. This can lead to tooth decay and further damage to your dental health; not something you want.
Another issue is that silver alloy, or amalgam, conducts heat and cold. This can cause discomfort and require a root canal treatment. This, again, is not optimal.
Silver Alloy Alternatives
The modern alternative to silver amalgam is a combination of tooth-colored porcelain-type materials.
The first advantage to these is that they neither conduct heat nor oxidize. This means they won’t cause discomfort, require a root canal treatment or lead to tooth decay.
The second and most obvious advantage is that these fillings look just like your real teeth. They match your enamel in color and texture, meaning you won’t be able to tell the two apart with a naked eye.
Defective Filling Removal
In Dental Care of Beverly Hills, we specialize in removing defective alloy fillings that have become oxidized, damaged or otherwise unsuitable for further use.
We do this using a rubber dam to make sure no material is inhaled or swallowed by our patients - and we use anesthesia where necessary to ensure a comfortable, non-obtrusive experience.
If you notice that your metal filling is leaving a dark, gray colormark where it meets the tooth, this is a sign that you should consider replacing your silver alloy with another material!
Once any necessary defective fillings are removed, they are replaced with tooth-colored filling materials, like porcelain or bonding composite resin.
This, like the filling removal, is done in an aseptic environment and with the use of a rubber dam to make sure nothing gets inhaled or swallowed.