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All About Amalgam

Why I Don’t Place Amalgam Fillings

At Modern Family Dentists we only place resin (tooth colored) fillings we believe that they are safer, cause less damage, and are more durable than amalgam fillings.  The research supports this.

Amalgam fillings are made with a mix of metals. Metals tend to shrink and expand when their temperature changes, this causes the fillings to expand and shrink. While expanding and contracting, the seal on the tooth becomes loose and bacteria can go underneath the filling and cause decay. This decay is hard to diagnose because it is hidden underneath the filling, and when an x-ray is taken, the metal filling can block the decay from showing. The single tooth on the upper right is an example of this.  Over time, the expansion and contraction can also cause the tooth to crack. Resin fillings are metal free, so they do not have these issues, which is why we prefer to place them. We also find that our patients prefer the more natural look of the resins over the amalgam fillings.

Steps to Place a Filling

Ever wonder what is happening in your mouth when you get a filling?

First, we numb the area of the mouth being worked on.  During the next stage, the dentist will remove the decay from the tooth. Once the decay is fully removed, the dentist will seal the tooth with a desensitizer and micro-primer to minimize tooth sensitivity. A layer of primer is then put on the tooth, then a layer of bond so that the resin filling will permanently adhere to the tooth. The resin then bonds to the adhesive while the assistant cures the filling with a special light . During the last step, the dentist polishes the filling to smooth it out. The time it takes to place a filling varies depending on the location and size of the filling.  Some sensitivity can be present for 6-16 weeks because the teeth never appreciate being worked on.  

Filling Coverage and Insurance



Dental insurance can be tricky to understand, especially when dealing with alternate benefits, let our office help you maximize your insurance benefits.  Here is an explanation of how you benefits work when getting resin fillings placed.



 

Continued from previous column 

Although resin fillings have been around for quite some time, most insurance companies will only cover them at the full reimbursement rate if they are on the front teeth. Insurance providers often categorize them as a “cosmetic procedure,” and therefore cover them at a lower rate than an amalgam filling.  Dr. Aust frequently is heard saying “we have your best interest at heart, your insurance company is just trying to make that payment on their skyscraper.”  

When we place a resin filling in the back of your mouth, insurance companies will often reimburse at the same rate they would an amalgam filling. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings are cheaper, so the dental insurance companies are putting the difference in cost of the resin fillings on you. With proper oral hygiene, composite fillings are a great option for you and because they last longer and cause less damage over time.  You are saving money in the long run.  An amalgam, then another amalgam down the road, then a crown after that, is still much more expensive then one resin filling.  Dr. Aust has had the same resin in his mouth for 25 years.  We practice what we preach.  

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