man holding his jaw in painAlthough you may not agree with the California cities working to ban metal amalgam because of its negative health effects, there is another reason why many people want to get rid of their metal amalgam fillings: tooth sensitivity.

Metal amalgam fillings can make your teeth more sensitive to heat and cold.

Metal Amalgam Fillings Conduct Heat

Metal conducts heat very well. Your natural tooth material insulates the tooth nerve from temperature changes, but the metal conducts the heat or cold down into the tooth, which can increase sensitivity.

Reconstructive dentistry solutions like composite fillings and ceramic inlays and onlays insulate your teeth better than metal, protecting you from temperature-induced pain.

Metal Amalgam Fillings Expand and Contract Quickly

Metals expand and contract quickly. They expand much more quickly than your natural tooth material. When you drink a hot liquid, the heat can cause your metal fillings to expand, putting pressure on your tooth, including the sensitive nerve. The opposite occurs when you drink a cold liquid, the filling can contract, pulling on your teeth.

Ceramic fillings and composite fillings have an expansion and contraction rate closer to that of your natural tooth material, reducing the amount of pressure your teeth experience.

Metal Amalgam Can Cause Microfractures

In addition to pain, the pressure of expanding and contracting metal amalgam fillings puts stress on your enamel. This stress leads to microfractures that allow liquid to infiltrate your tooth enamel. Over time, the fractures can become large enough to harbor bacteria, which take advantage of the shelter to consume sugars, reproduce, and secrete acid, destroying your tooth from the inside. This decay can make your teeth sensitive.

These microfractures can also grow, making your tooth susceptible to fracturing, which will require a dental crown to repair, and possible a root canal if bacteria have penetrated into your tooth pulp.

Replace Your Fillings for Comfortable, Attractive Teeth

If you are unhappy with sensitivity caused by metal amalgam fillings, the risk of health effects, or the unattractive appearance of fillings that have turned black, we can help you replace metal amalgam fillings with tooth-colored fillings that can reduce sensitivity, improve your appearance, and don’t contain toxic mercury.

To learn more about replacing your fillings, please contact Rice Dentistry in Irvine, California today.