Amalgam fillings are often used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It involves a mixture of metals like mercury, powdered silver, copper and tin. Mercury makes a big percentage (approximately 50%) of the filling mixture and it is combined with the other metals to create an amalgam.
This type of filling is often used on the back teeth. It is a preferred form of filling because it is the most affordable, and it is also unlikely to break, making it a long lasting solution.
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How to take care of amalgam fillings
1. Take light bites and chew slowly
After patients get amalgam fillings, they are often advised to chew slowly to avoid putting pressure on the newly-restored teeth. The first few hours after the operation are especially crucial since the gums are teeth are still sore. Those who have gotten fillings on only one side should try and chew using the side that does not have fillings for a few days until they are completely set.
2. Rinse mouth with warm salt water
Some people who have gotten amalgam fillings complain of lingering soreness in the gums and sensitive teeth. To reduce this, patients are advised to rinse their mouths with warm salty water, especially after meals. Care should be taken to ensure the water is not too hot as it may scald the mouth and tongue.
3. Avoid sticky foods
Since these fillings take time to set, it is important for patients to avoid sticky foods so as not to interfere with the healing process. They should cross off gums and candy that could dislodge the filling from the tooth and send them back to the dentist’s chair.
4. Food should be in moderate temperature
Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect people with amalgam fillings deals with. The first few weeks are always more intense, and that is why patients are advised to stay off extremely hot or cold foods and drinks. The extreme temperatures can even cause a crack on the tooth with the filling.
5. Chew with mouth closed
The idea that people need to chew with their mouths closed becomes even more relevant when one gets dental fillings. Closing the mouth prevents cold air from entering the mouth and causing pain. For people who sleep with mouths open, it would be advisable to sleep with a mouth guard that will stop them from breathing in cold air while they sleep.
6. Stay off sugary and fizzy stuff
Sugar is bad for the teeth, and even worse for people who have gotten fillings. It provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
7. Consult on the right products to use
The market is full of products that promise the best in dental care. Patients should get recommendations from their dentists on which products to use. This reduces the odds of any of these products ruining the fillings.
Amalgam fillings will last long if well taken care of. If you continue to feel pain while chewing, or extreme sensitivity of teeth several days after the procedure, contact a dentist immediately.