Dental amalgam has withstood the test of time, that is why it is the material of choice. It has a 150 year proven track record and is still one of the safest, durable and least expensive materials to fill a cavity.
It is estimated that more than one billion amalgam restorations (fillings) are placed annually. Dentists use dental amalgams because it is easier to work with than other alternatives. Some patients prefer dental amalgam to other alternatives because of its safety, cost-effectiveness and ability to be placed in the tooth cavity quickly.
ARE DENTAL AMALGAM FILLINGS SAFE?
- Most dental fillings are an alloy of mercury with another metal used by dentists to fill cavities in teeth. Most metals are soluble in mercury, but some are not.
- Dental amalgam is the end product of mixing approximately equal parts of elemental liquid mercury and an alloy powder of silver, tin, Cu etc.
- From the time when dentists started using amalgam as a filling material there has been a concern that is amalgam safe ? Is the mercury present in the material not harming the body ?
- Different people have different thought about this. Some believe that mercury in dental amalgam is toxic. In either opinion mercury in dental amalgam can injure brain, kidneys, etc. of children and sometimes even adults. Whereas others believe that mercury in dental amalgam is safe and is not poisonous. Now even the research done by several scientists has shown that amalgam is safe and does not cause harm to the body.
- According to them mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous. When mercury is combined with other metals in dental amalgam its chemical nature changes, so it is essentially harmless.
- The amount released in the mouth under the pressure of chewing and grinding is extremely small (1-3µg) and no cause for alarm. In fact it is less than what patients are exposed to in food, air and water (5-7μg a day).
- Ongoing scientific studies conducted over the past 100 years continue to prove that amalgam is not harmful.
- Millions of successful dental amalgams are done annually. Dentists welcome the use of dental amalgam because it is comparatively easier to work with than its other substitute. Not only dentists, but even patients choose dental amalgam to other alternatives because it is safe, strong, economical and can be placed in the tooth cavity quickly with ease.
WHY DON’T DENTISTS USE ALTERNATIVES TO AMALGAM ?
Alternative to amalgam
Gold and porcelain take longer to make and require two appointments.
Composite resins are esthetically pleasing but require longer time to place the restoration.
This the reason why most dentists prefer amalgam over other filling materials.