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Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.

The issue of safety of dental amalgam fillings has been a controversial topic in the news for quite some time.

The FDA, World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have all reviewed the best available scientific evidence and determined that dental amalgam fillings are safe.

The ADA policy remains on the basis of research available that the use of dental amalgam has no harmful effects.

The choice of filling materials completely depends on the patient’s choice.

ARE DENTAL AMALGAMS SAFE?

Although dental amalgam is a safe, commonly used dental material, you may wonder about its mercury content. It’s important to know that when combined with other metals, it forms a safe, stable material. Made of: A mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Mercury is nearly 50% of the mixture.

PROS

    • Dental Amalgams are strong and long-lasting, so they are less likely to break
    • Least expensive type of filling material
    • Amalgam can be placed in areas where it is difficult to keep the tooth dry
    • Is less technique sensitive
    • Amalgam fillings can be completed in one dental visit

CONS

    • Amalgam doesn’t match the colour of your teeth
    • The controversy about the mercury
    • non-insulating
    • Amalgam fillings can corrode or tarnish over time. This can cause discolouration where the filling meets the tooth
    • Some people may be allergic to mercury or be concerned about its effects

ALTERNATIVES TO AMALGAM

Dentists use other materials to restore teeth. These include composite resin, porcelain and gold. Amalgam is stronger than composite resin and requires less time in the dentist’s chair. Composite resin is a tooth-coloured material. Because it wears faster than amalgam, composite resin can’t be used in every situation.

READ MORE ON COMPOSITE RESIN