Missing teeth and old fillings

Posted on 15th September 2018

The most common things that patients tell us makes them unhappy about their smile is silver fillings and missing teeth.

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam is a metal alloy consisting of mainly silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Historically, amalgam has been the ideal choice of filling material due to it’s favourable strength and wear characteristics. However, amalgam is not the ideal choice of restorative material when considering a natural aesthetic appearance.

Modern advances in the development of dental materials has led to tooth coloured restorative fillings being made which have very favourable strength properties and also have very desirable aesthetic features. For this reason, it is very rare to favour an amalgam restoration anymore as most of the high end tooth coloured restorations are able to provide a much better alternative.

We find many of our patients ask to have the old amalgam fillings replaced for the newer composite restorations. Amalgam fillings start life as a silver shiny filling which, over time, corrodes and takes on a black appearance. These corrosion products also stain the rest of the tooth giving the tooth an overall greyish appearance. We find that in most cases we are able to replace the corroded amalgam restorations with more aesthetically stable composite restorations.

Missing teeth and Dental Implants

The presence of missing tooth spaces creates both a functional and aesthetic problem for many people. By replacing missing teeth with a dental implant, the overall dental health is improved as well as the function and appearance. Having a tooth in the space will prevent adjacent teeth from drifting and also maintain a healthy and stable biting position.

Modern advancements in dental technology has led to the development of titanium-zirconium alloy implants which are extremely strong and provide support for the most natural looking replacement teeth.

In the case below we have demonstrated a huge improvement in this patient’s mouth by simply replacing an old corroded amalgam restoration with a high strength composite resin. The missing molar has also been replaced with a strong and aesthetic screw-retained implant crown. Both of these restorations are made to look as natural as possible and are designed to be durable for long term stability.

Thank you for reading,

Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)

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