The Rise And Fall Of The Amalgam Filling

Dental Restoration Materials

There was a period in time when the amalgam filling reigned supreme for restorations. Advances in dental technology have dethroned it in favor of other options. The options available now are more natural in their appearance. They also can be more durable and are free from certain drawbacks. Composite provides significantly better durability while delivering a more natural toothlike appearance. This is just one example of the new options available to the dental patient looking for a new restoration. If you’re considering restorations and want to understand your options, keep reading!

The Rise And Fall Of The Amalgam Filling

Sixteen decades, well over a century and a half, is a respectable run for any medical material. For all its longevity, there have always been those who have spoken out against it. Part of the reason was that the amalgam alloy contained mercury. Mercury is known to be one of the elements that are particularly dangerous to human life. However, when bound into an alloy, it’s also essentially harmless. However, the manufacturing process still presents environmental dangers.

One thing that has helped to topple amalgam from its thrown is those environmental concerns. Dental offices have been required to include amalgam separators in their offices since July of 2020. These devices ensure that no material from an amalgam ends up in the city septic system. It won’t be long before America follows in Europe’s footsteps in mandating the cessation of amalgams in dental practices. Below is a list of other popular materials that are taking the place of amalgam.

  • Glass Ionomers
  • Resin Ionomers
  • Composites
  • Ceramic onlays and onlays
  • Gold alloys

Each of these materials is environmentally and biologically safe. Most of them also provide significant improvements in appearance over amalgam fillings. Composite fillings trade durability for beauty and reduced cost. Resin is almost never used for a permanent filling due to its low durability, inferior appearance, and frequent need for repair. Of the above list, ceramics rule the roost in regards to visual appeal and durability. The drawback is that, while ceramic can be repaired, it requires composite material to do so.

Each of these materials, with the exception of resin, can be used to create a full restoration. Most of them can even be used to make full crowns for dental implants. Dental implants are a special kind of restoration that has a superior appearance and durability. Getting these begins with the implanting of a special titanium screw into the jaw. This screw is used as a mounting point for permanent restoration. The titanium also has the benefit of promoting bone growth and so strengthens your teeth. This means that the end result is a beautified smile with more natural feeling function, along with a stronger jawbone.

Learn More From Your Dental Professional

All the options available for restoration materials can be discussed in full with your dentist. Their advanced understanding of the finer points of your oral health will let them make the best recommendations. Reach out to your dentist and start talking about restoration options today!

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dr ulysses vargas dds south hill comprehensive dentistry

Dr. Vargas earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, graduating with Distinction in Research honors. While in Dental school he was active in research and presented at the AADR in Tamp Florida where abstract was accepted into the finalist Dentsply/Caulk competition, his work received 2nd place at the 30th annual Dental Science Symposium. Dr. Vargas is an active member of several dental affiliated societies and organizations, which are the American Dental AssociationTexas Dental AssociationSan Antonio District Dental SocietyAmerican Student Dental Association.

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