Hi, I'm Tanya Kat from Advanced Dental Artistry. Today, we're going to talk about back teeth. When a patient comes into the practice, we have a look at the back teeth to see as to whether there's any decay in the grooves or underneath existing restorations. We want to make sure that there's no decay in the tooth. The other thing that we want to look at is whether there's a tooth that has a very large restoration.
A lot of our patients come in and they have old, silver fillings or what they call amalgam fillings. These silver fillings were great materials 30 to 40 years ago, but now materials have changed. The silver fillings are made out of metal, and with metal, they expand and contract with temperatures. If you have a silver filling in your mouth, when you have something hot to drink, it mercuric expands. If you have something cold to drink, it mercuric contracts. If this happens, it's in a tooth structure that doesn't have that flexibility. What it can contribute to is fractures in the tooth.
[inaudible 00:01:05] fractures are vertical fracture lines that go down the tooth. Unfortunately, when you take an x-ray, an x-ray is taken from the side of the tooth so you cannot see these fracture lines in an x-ray. With these vertical fractures, we just don't know how far they go. They could go partway through the tooth or they could eventually go all the way through the tooth.
If we can see that a silver filling has some fracture lines in it, it may mean just replacing the tooth-colored filling or it sometimes may mean, if the fracture line goes extensively through the tooth, that we may recommend to do something that covers over the top of the tooth. The reason why we would recommend this is, by covering something over the top of the tooth, it's like putting a helmet on a head. It protects the whole tooth. It brings the whole tooth together. When you bite down, the tooth isn't going to flex so it decreases the chance fo a whole tooth fracture in half. In worst-case scenarios, the tooth can fracture in half. If that's the case, unfortunately, there's nothing we can do and it is extracting the tooth.
So, whenever a patient comes in, we just want to have a look and look at the long-term, especially back teeth. Back teeth can take up to 10 kilograms of force so we want to make sure that a patient is going to come in and something fractures off or the whole tooth fractures in half. Whenever you look at doing an examination, sure, we want to make sure that there's no decay in the tooth but we also want to make sure that a patient's not going to come in and something is going to fracture, that we look at the long-term of the tooth, where the patient is going to be in 2 years time, in 5 years time, and in 10 years time.
I hope I explained everything a little bit to do about back teeth and what we look at. If you like to give us a call on 1800 SMILING, we look forward to seeing you soon.
Amalgam fillings, part silver and part mercury, are strong and have been around for decades. We know amalgam fillings can last a long time, however, this treatment does come with it’s set of problems. These problems stem from the fact you’re having part of your tooth replaced with metal. And, unlike porcelain or composite fillings, amalgam fillings require healthy as well as the decayed parts of the tooth to be removed.
Main problems which can arise from amalgam fillings:
At Advanced Dental Artistry in Perth, we feel that patients need to make their own judgement calls about whether they want amalgam fillings or not. At ADAP we prefer to use composite (or porcelain) fillings for health and aesthetic reasons.
To safely remove amalgam fillings, one of our dentists will ensure the area around the tooth is clean before placing a rubber dam and carefully removing the amalgam. Depending on the size of the filling and the health of your tooth, the replacement for an amalgam filling is either a composite filling or a porcelain restoration.
If you are unsure what the best course of action for you is, feel free to contact us today to find out more.
If you have any further questions or queries, don't hesitate to contact us.