HOME - News - Editorials
11 September 2019

What do patients think about dentistry today?

Lorenzo Breschi

Are amalgam fillings still the best materials for the reconstruction of our teeth? According to a survey conducted by the Italian Academy of Conservative and Restorative Dentistry (AIC) presented during the 21st National Congress held in May 2019 in Bologna, 35% of the Italians consider amalgam restorations the most reliable treatment for caries. On the other hand, only 26% of the interviewed seem to be aware of the fact that silver-colored fillings are no longer the material of choice. Indeed, theirs use, has been strongly limited by a European Union regulation that from 2018 prohibits its use in children and pregnant or nursing women. The reason for this regulation is the alleged toxicity due to the release of mercury, one of the main components of the alloy used for fillings.

Unfortunately, the knowledge that Italians have of dental treatment has remained at a standstill a few decades ago, when it was normal to use gold for prostheses and silver amalgam for fillings. However, despite the thought of the interviewed patients, dentists are well informed about the new European rules and have a good knowledge of the state-of-the-art materials for teeth reconstruction. As a matter of facts, only 4% of the fillings performed each year, for a total of about 1,000,000 interventions are made with amalgam, showing that the use of this material is now residual in the daily clinical practice, and is limited to specific cases and to particular welfare and social situations, where it cannot be replaced with the current materials on the market. The remaining 96% of the teeth that are treated each year are currently performed with resinous-based materials, which are adhesively bonded to the dental substrate and allow excellent aesthetic integration and a preservation of residual sound tissue. These materials, unlike amalgam, have a color that is similar to that of the natural teeth and, if placed following the appropriate protocols, guarantee a duration over time comparable to that of the well-established longevity of amalgam and gold. Moreover, the resin-based materials composed of organic resins, silicon crystals, quartz and other fillers, have the enormous advantage of being reparable over time, thus increasing their permanence in the mouth. 

Although amalgam has had, in the past, wide employment in the dental field, the scientific community is working to raise awareness among dentists, and especially patients, on the importance of preserving the residual sound dental tissue and therefore, of a more modern and conservative approach to the treatment of teeth that have undergone tissue loss due to pathological or traumatic causes.

The concept of minimally invasive dentistry does not mean that all amalgam fillings need an immediate replacement with an adhesive resin-based filling, but it lays the foundation for a more up to date dentistry, closer to the concept of respect and preservation of the natural tooth. Safeguarding teeth through less invasive procedures is of extreme importance, especially if it is considered that the data of the survey conducted by Datanalysis on 1000 adults representative of the Italian population confirms that the patients do care a lot about their smile and teeth.  


Related articles

The Blind Spot     12 May 2020

Predictive Abilities

Author: Prof. Luca Pani

The Blind Spot, a section of Dentistry33 magazine, described  from a few years ago, how one of the next innovations of digital health will be the technology ...

Editorials     17 March 2020

Covid-19: A needful effort

On March 11th, the WHO pronounced its concerns both about the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. They have...

Editorials     12 February 2020

Communication in Dentistry

Is it important to communicate with world around us? Why do we have to learn about communication? Does it really need to be considered a fundamental aspect of ...

The beginning of a new year means new projects, new opportunities and new research possibilities. There are no doubts that dentistry has made remarkable...

Editorials     31 December 2019

End of the year

Dear Colleagues, December 2019 marks the first “Christmas Season” since the introduction of Dentistry33. It is therefore time to end the year with a...

Read more

The restoration of an endodontically treated tooth (ETT) has been widely discussed in the literature. Most of the available RCTs showed that premolars restored  with a fiber post and a single...

Co-authors: F. Scotti, M. Mandaglio, S. Decani, E. Baruzzi

An 83-year-old female patient arrives in urgency complaining of noticeable exacerbation of the symptoms at the level of oral mucous. The patient, non-smoker...

Author: Lorena Origo

In the current situation of COVID-19 emergency, all nations support the need to limit dental clinical activity exclusively to emergency care. In parallel, it is necessary to prepare for the following...

In the latest issue (May 2020) of The Angle Orthodontist a systematic review was published about the effects of Rapid Maxillary Expansion (RME) on ...

Long-term studies have shown that there is no significant difference between the success rates of implants placed in natural alveolar bone and those placed in...




Most popular