A filling replaces part of a tooth lost because of decay through accidental damage. ‘Silver’ fillings are made of amalgam – a mixture of mercury with silver, tin and sometimes copper.
How we do a silver filling?
- The area around the tooth will be numbed.
- Any decay will be removed with any old filling.
- Any weak tooth that may break later will be removed.
- The hole will be shaped so that the tooth holds the filling in place.
- For a large filling we will sometimes use tiny pins and screws to help hold the tooth and the filling together.
- A lining will be put underneath the filling if it is very deep to make the tooth less sensitive to temperature changes.
- When the tooth is prepared soft amalgam is pressed tightly into the hole – you might hear it squeak as it goes in.
- The filling is carved to fit into the hole in the tooth. The dentist might put a thin metal band around the tooth while doing this to keep the amalgam in place while it is still soft.
- You will be asked to close your mouth gently on the filling to check that it is the right height and comfortable.
- The filling might be polished at the next visit when it is completely hard.
The benefits of this treatment:
- A filling rebuilds the tooth for chewing.
- If decay is left unchecked it can eat into the tooth and cause pain. The tooth might then have to be ‘root filled’ or extracted.
- A filling can end toothache or prevent toothache developing.
- Amalgam is soft and mouldable at first but quickly becomes very hard. Silver fillings are very strong so they can be ideal for back teeth where there is heavy wear from chewing.