What are Amalgam Fillings? (also known as “silver fillings”)
Amalgam fillings may more accurately be referred to as mercury fillings which, at 50 % elemental mercury by weight, is the largest component. Other components are silver, copper, and zinc.
What is the alternative to amalgam fillings?
Composite resin fillings are the most common alternative to dental amalgam. They are sometimes called “tooth-colored” or “white” fillings because of their color. Composite resin fillings are made of a type of plastic (an acrylic resin) reinforced with powdered glass. Advantages of composite resin fillings include being able to blend in with surrounding teeth and they require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure for placement. They also bond to your tooth and may help hold it together.
Are there any other alternatives to amalgam fillings?
When the previous filling was very large or decay has destroyed a large portion of the tooth, a ceramic or porcelain restoration may be the best treatment. This restoration may be in the form of a conservative in-lay or on-lay but in cases where the damage is extensive a full-coverage crown may need to be placed.
Does insurance cover the replacements of the amalgam?
If the tooth is decayed around the amalgam filling, or if the tooth or filling is cracked or broken, insurance generally covers replacement of the amalgam filling. (Composite fillings also may need to be replaced over time.) Dental insurance often pays only the [lower] fee allowed for an amalgam filling in a posterior tooth. If that is the case with your insurance, you will have to pay both the co-pay at the [lower] amalgam filling level and the amount above the adjusted amalgam fee for a composite filling.
Do you have the proper equipment to safely removal amalgams?
We utilize safety measures consistent with the IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology) recommended protocol. http://www.iaomt.org/articles/category_view.asp?intReleaseID=288&catid=30. This includes utilization of a “rubber” dam, removal of saliva beneath the rubber dam, breathing an alternate source of air, removal of air in the face area and water cooling of the fillings during removal.