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Updated on May 30, 2013
Amalgam filling in posterior teeth
Amalgam filling in posterior teeth | Source

Amalgam is one of the most common restoratives filling material used in dentistry. Its low cost, strength, durability and ease of use make it one of dentist’s favorite. Despite the issues raised by health authorities due to mercury, and the introduction of newer and safer (mercury free) composite materials, amalgam is still preferred in circumstances where durability is more important than aesthetics. Some patients may be allergic to mercury or silver used in amalgam, inform your dentist before undergoing any dental treatment.

If you are about to get an amalgam filling or you recently got one. Here are some instructions that are worth reading:

  • It takes 24 hours for amalgam to fully set in your mouth and one hour for it to reach 75 % of its maximum strength. Don’t eat for one hour after treatment, or the filling may crack and swallowed accidentally
  • Avoid eating hard food for 24 hours or eat on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Children should be observed until the anesthetic wears off. Due to the strange feeling of the anesthetic, many children may chew the inside of their lips, cheeks or tongue, which can cause serious damage to oral tissues.
  • You may experience mild sensitivity to hot and cold. This sensitivity should disappear in a few weeks. If it does not do so, or should it get worse, please contact your dentist.
  • Sensitivity is usually most noticeable at the first 12-24 hours after the anesthetic wears off.
  • The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days together with the anesthetic injection site.
  • After 24 hours, the dentist polishes your filling (at a subsequent visit). It cannot be polished on the first visit as the filling needs to set properly.
  • Chewing gum also has the effect of high shining the restoration as the gum acts like a rubber buffer. But be careful not to eat chewing gum on the treated side until the anesthesia wears off or you may bite your cheeks and damage your mouth
  • Sometimes you may notice an electrical reaction to the new amalgam filling. This is referred to as Galvanic Shock. This often disappears within two weeks of having the filling placed. If the galvanic shock is too much to bear, please contact you dentist as there may be another problem.
  • After the numbing wears off, you may feel you are not biting correctly. Please contact your dentist so your bite can be adjusted. You may not feel this for some time if the bite is only slightly high. Remember, when you are numb it is hard for you to judge if you are biting your teeth together correctly.

If one or more of the following conditions occur, contact your dentist immediately to avoid further problems:

  • A feeling of movement or looseness in the restoration.
  • Allergic reaction to the filling
  • Sensitivity from sweet foods.
  • A peculiar taste from the restoration site.
  • Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration.


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