Hi, and welcome to our first Blog for Hartwell Dentistry, quality Dentists in Camberwell.

Every month we will post  information on topics that our patients have shown interest in, as well as,take the opportunity to discuss the changing face of dentistry.

Many of our patients ask us, “what filling material is best for me?”

We thought we would first start this conversation by  discussing what has been traditionally used and continues to be used to fill teeth. You may have heard of Amalgam Metal Mercury Fillings.

Before we start I would like to state that we no longer use this material. We use tooth-coloured fillings at Hartwell Dentistry.

The only benefit of amalgam fillings is that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to place.

However the disadvantages of Amalgam fillings are:

1)   Amalgam filling material contains mercury and other metals. While there has been no conclusive studies relating the mercury in amalgam to any dangers, mercury by itself is very toxic. It has been shown to have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing foetuses and children. Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them sensitive to mercury exposure,including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden are not safe candidates for this filling material. These individuals should not avoid seeking dental care but discuss alternative options that are suitable with us at Hartwell Dentistry.

2)   With metal amlagam fillings the risk of hot and cold sensitivity after placement is much higher. Temperature travels easier through the metal and it does not offer as much insulation and protection of the nerve as tooth coloured materials.

3)   The material needs a more aggressive and destructive preparation of the tooth to place, this leads to the removal of healthy tooth structure to accommodate the metal amalgam.

4)   The metal amalgam just fills the defect, it does not reinforce or protect the tooth from the stresses of chewing, this leads to cracking,spltting and breaking of the enamel. This would be the most commonly observed problem in our patients at Hartwell Dentistry. This is condition is known worldwide as Cracked Tooth Syndrome. It often leads to nerve damage which requires root canal therapy to treat, or in extreme cases loss of the tooth thus leading to replacement via a bridge or dental implant.

5)   Amalgam mercury fillings do not harden immediately. Therefore, it is not good to chew on that specific tooth for a couple of hours after the filling is placed.

6)   Metal filling also don’t look good at all, they certainly don’t blend in to the colour of our natural enamel.

So you have a choice, depending on the circumstances of the tooth, either a Composite Resin material can be used, OR a Ceramic Material/CEREC in more damaged teeth are much better options. Come and visit us atHartwell Dentistry, to find out what is best for your longterm dental and general health

In our next blog we will discuss these newer materials in more depth