Are dental amalgams safe? Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam? Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries? Is there a filling material that matches tooth color? If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced? Read this interesting and informative discussion from the American Dental Association.
The Food and Drug Administration and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in rare cases of allergic reactions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some scientific background on mercury (contained within silver-colored fillings), and whether it believes the substance presents any health hazards.
Children have significantly less tooth decay in their primary (baby) and permanent teeth today than they did in the early 1970s, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). The analysis reveals that among children between the ages of six and 18 years, the percentage of decayed permanent teeth decreased by 57.2 percent over a 20-year period. In addition, children between the ages of two and 10 years experienced a drop of nearly 40 percent in diseased or decayed primary teeth.
Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing esthetic materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
The advent of these new materials has not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental restoratives, which include gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more expensive. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place.
Here’s a look at some of the more common kinds of alternatives to silver amalgam:
Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth.
Sealants were developed in the 1950s and first became available commercially in the early 1970s. The first sealant was accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. In fact, research has shown that sealants actually stop cavities when placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria that causes a cavity.
Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth. Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12.
Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. Because of this, children derive the greatest benefit from sealants because of the newness of their teeth. Research has shown that more than 65% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child`s newly erupted teeth because of trapped food particles and bacteria.
Sealant application involves cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all traces of the cleaning agent. An etching solution or gel is applied to the enamel surface of the tooth, including the pits and grooves. After 15 seconds, the solution is thoroughly rinsed away with water. After the site is dried, the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden by using a special curing light.
Sealants normally last about five years. Sealants should always be examined at the child`s regular checkup. Sealants are extremely effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Insurance coverage for sealant procedures is increasing, but still minimal. Many dentists expect this trend to change as insurers become more convinced that sealants can help reduce future dental expenses and protect the teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment.
North Aurora Smiles is a patient-centered practice offering gentle, comprehensive dental care services for the whole family. Our top priority is to ensure the optimal health and wellness of our patients, and helping them to achieve healthy beautiful smiles for life. The doctors pride themselves on being whole-health focused with an overall philosophy of being minimally invasive in their dental treatment.
Dr. Hammad Aziz is a skilled and experienced professional, having graduated from Loyola University Chicago, Cum Laude with departmental honors and obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) at the University of Illinois, College of Dentistry. He is certified in Invisalign, Dental Implants, Six Month Smiles (invisible, clear braces), Sleep Apnea/Snoring with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Institute for Cranio-Facial Sleep Medicine. Dr. Aziz is also certified in Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Therapy, and is a BLS (CPR) Healthcare Provider / ACLS Certified. He is an active member of the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry, and a Member of the Academy of General Dentistry, Founding Member and President Elect of the CM Dental Society, and Past President and Member of the Aurora Dental Society.
Dr. Todd Spragg graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. He is certified in orthodontic aligner therapy and Botox/Dermal Fillers. Dr. Spragg is dedicated to providing quality cosmetic and restorative dental care to patients of all ages.
Dr. Abdulah Jabri is a skilled dentist born and bred in Illinois. He earned his Doctor of Medicine with a specialty in Dentistry from the School of Dental Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has been recognized by the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, and the Chicago Dental Society. Dr. Jabri frequently invests in continuing education as he prioritizes providing the latest treatments for his patients.