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November 2, 2011

Silver amalgam vs. tooth colored fillings continued

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Beliveau @ 4:57 pm

Hopefully, people are regaining their power and internet service so that you can read this. You will remember that last month I began a discussion on some of the realities regarding silver amalgam.  I finished last months blog stating that silver amalgam fillings are held in the tooth by the shape of the cavity preparation created by the dentist.

Unfortunately, the “undercuts” created by cavity preparations for silver amalgam create what I feel is one of the biggest drawbacks. The cavity preparations for silver amalgam often will remove more solid tooth structure than a preparation for composite, or tooth colored fillings.  Often these preparations, combined with the different expansion contraction properties between tooth and silver amalgam often create cracks in teeth that can lead to a fractured tooth. It has been my experience over the past 22 years to see many more teeth that fracture with silver fillings as opposed to composite fillings. I will not say that teeth with composites never break but it seems much less frequent. Why is this?

As I said, cavity preparations for silver amalgam usually require more tooth removal than for composite. Composite fillings are bonded restorations meaning the tooth is treated to allow a microscopic bond to keep the filling in place. This allow the dentist to simply remover the decay or stain and bond the new filling in place. No undercuts are necessary and along with the bonding process, the tooth actually becomes stronger.

That should be enough to think about until next time where we will discuss the big winner. Asthetics!

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