In dentistry, the obturation is usually used in what is popularly known as filling. This technique is performed to clean the cavity resulting from a hole and then fill it with some material. This filling will facilitate good masticatory function and occlusion of the teeth with their antagonists and achieve a good seal that prevents the carious injury from recurring. Also, it will be essential to maintain pleasing dental aesthetics.
Until recently, fillings were made with a material known as silver amalgam (the gray fillings). This results from mercury alloying with other metals, such as copper, zinc, silver, tin, gold, and other metals. Silver amalgam has fallen into disuse due to its characteristic gray color, which breaks with dental aesthetics. But mainly to the toxicity of the mercury that it contains.
In 1991 the World Health Organization determined that dental amalgams are a significant source of mercury exposure for the general population. This mercury is released very slowly in the oral cavity in mercury vapors and ions in the saliva.
As a result of this, different countries began to take protection measures for the population, and in 2008, in some countries of the European Union, its use was prohibited. In others, its use is restricted to some population groups. This material has been replaced by composite or composite resin (white fillings). This type of filling comprises materials with different characteristics, such as cohesion and reinforcement. The cohesive components surround and join the features, and the reinforcement components maintain their rigidity and position. To become stiff and adhere to the tooth, it must be exposed to a light-curing or light-curing lamp. This lamp is the one that produces that particular bluish or violet light.
But what if I already have a silver amalgam filling?
If you already have a filling of this type, you should not worry. It has been shown that the amount of mercury that amalgam releases over the years are negligible, so if you currently have silver amalgam fillings, you do not have to replace them with composite ones. It is not advisable to unnecessarily lift old amalgam fillings, as the dangers of mercury exposure can be increased. On the other hand, the teeth can be harmed when removing these fillings since structural damage can be caused to healthy teeth. So when is it advisable to change them? There are several reasons why we do recommend replacing a gray filling with a white one. Among them, we find the following:
- 1. The degree of filtration or deterioration. If the amalgam filling is in poor condition and causes leaks to the tooth, it will be necessary to change it.
- 2. The aesthetics provided by white composites make them practically invisible to other people’s eyes.
- 3. The impossibility of diagnosing cavities under them due to transparency. Because amalgam is opaque, it sometimes makes diagnosing and treating dental problems difficult.
- 4. Accession. When its size is large, it can lead to fractures of the enamel walls surrounding the tooth reconstruction. On the other hand, the white composite has an adherent power that would prevent it.
Knowing all this, the most important thing is preventing any dental damage. That is, maintain good oral hygiene and consult your trusted dentist regularly. He is the one who can best advise you in your particular case if you have any questions!