Amalgam fillings

Amalgam is the silver or black looking filling you may have in your mouth. It’s made by mixing a powder of mainly copper, silver and tin with liquid mercury. Mercury makes up approximately half the weigh of an amalgam filling.

amalgam-fillings-300x199Is the mercury a health risk?
Most of the loss of mercury happens during the placement or removal of the filling. The research indicates that while some mercury is released it is such a miniscule amount that it isn’t a hazard.

One report suggests it would take around 10,000 years to release all the mercury in a filling.

Numerous surveys have been conducted and still are. These studies have been based on quality evidence-based results and show there is no health risk although some people can have hyper sensitivity to the metals in amalgam fillings.

Why is amalgam used?
Largely because of its reliable performance for over 150 years. It is used mainly on back teeth particularly where there are moderate heavy chewing pressures. It is relatively cheaper than its alternatives and usually takes less time to place. As a material it tends to be user friendly so has fairly predictable results.

What are its disadvantages?
Mainly its colour, even one amalgam filling can sometimes spoil the appearance of an otherwise great looking smile. I remember one looking at all the black amalgam fillings in her mothers mouth during a check up pulling back saying “ Mummy, you’ve got squashed flies on your teeth!”

Personally I haven’t used any amalgam for around a decade.

I find amalgam fillings are packed in to teeth with a large amount of pressure (you might recall the squeaking sound) which teeth can handle initially but over time especially with heavy bites, the teeth can crack around them. I’ve seen many situations where the metal filling was still fine but it had cracked so much tooth around it that the people need expensive treatments to save their teeth.

With so many strong and good looking options, many people prefer to have the more natural looking alternatives.