There is no way to polish or brighten the old amalgam fillings.
But first, a little background…
Silver amalgam fillings are composed of mercury, tin, silver, copper and other trace metals. Over time they don’t rust like your old car does, but they do oxidize, turning black and discoloring teeth. As this process continues they also expand, presenting a real risk of cracking the tooth into which they were embedded, the same way that water will seep into a road, freeze, and cause it to buckle. The silver oxide can also discolor the adjacent gum tissue, commonly called an amalgam tattoo. Although harmless, an amalgam tattoo is less than aesthetically pleasing. The best way to deal with this possibility is to stop it before it starts. If you have silver amalgam fillings that are more than 10 years of, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment in order to give ’em a look-see!
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The first step is to safely remove the old, oxidized filling. This is accomplished with the IsoliteDental Isolation System, which uses a comfortable mouthpiece designed to capture wayward bits of material produced by the removal of the old filling, and a negative-pressure vapor recovery system ensures that any vapors are drawn safely away, and not inhaled.
Once the removal of the old corroded fillings has been accomplished, they can be replaced with a Resin Composite. Advances of composite technology are being made on a daily basis, and offer a number of distinct advantages over the old Mercury Amalgams:
- They are natural looking, and never discolor neighboring teeth or tissues.
- Their strength and durability has improved greatly in recent years.
- Unlike silver fillings, composite fillings are bonded to the tooth and re-establish up to 90% of the original tooth strength.
- They contain no harmful materials.
- They have the look and feel of natural teeth!
Recent advances in nanomaterials will soon pave the way for smart teeth. “Next-generation dental materials will help your teeth self-heal, rebuild your enamel, and may even protect against bacterial infections.” Clinical trials will need to occur, in order to insure against side effects. Once accomplished, however, cracked and discolored teeth will be a thing of the past!