Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is durable, easy to use and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it continues to be an option for dentists and their patients.
Dental amalgam is an alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be used as a restorative material, some concerns have been raised about its mercury content. However, while in place the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable.
Major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the World Health Organization, have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe and effective restorative material. Especially in areas where the technical skills required placing composites is compromised.
Disadvantages of amalgam include short-term sensitivity to hot or cold. Amalgam fillings require the removal of more tooth structure to retain the filling. Also there is a greater tendency for teeth to crack and break with the expansion and contraction of the metal. We choose not to place amalgams in our office, because there are better restorative materials now available.« Go Back