For decades, Amalgam fillings have been used as the main filling material by dentists. It was and still the most popular filling material due to its properties and advantages. In last few years, popularity of amalgam decreased due to mercury content.
What is Dental Amalgam?
Simply, it results by mixing powdered metal with liquid mercury. The powdered metal is mainly silver (Ag) and tin (Sn). The resulted material (Grey Filling) is used to restore decayed teeth.
Advantages of Amalgam
1- Durability of Amalgam
Amalgam fillings are very hard and they’re considered as the strongest filling material in the market. They can resist wear and withstand mastication forces more than other filling materials. They are very durable and can last up to ten years before they might need to be replaced.
2- Cost of Amalgam
Amalgam is relatively inexpensive when compared to other available options. That is why it is widely used as cost effective option.
Disadvantages of Amalgam
1- Unattractive Appearance (Grey Filling)
Many people are not familiar with amalgam as it doesn’t stimulate the natural color of teeth. it has silver color that darken eventually and may show when you smile. Thus, Dentists use it in back teeth only where they can be hidden.
2- Its Preparation is not a conservative procedure
Amalgam restoration require certain design to be retained to tooth structure. Thus, healthy tooth tissues may be removed in simple cavities by invasive procedures. This result in weakening of remaining tooth structure.
3- Teeth Sensitivity in newly placed filling
Amalgam is a metallic filling material that has great ability to transfer heat and cold through it. This means there are teeth sensitivity followed newly restored teeth. The sensitivity normally subside over time and usually takes a few weeks after restoration placement.
4- Mercury Content of Amalgam
Mercury is a toxic metal that used in manufacturing of Amalgam. Although the toxic nature of mercury is changed when mixed with silver and tin alloys, many believes that mercury content may cause some health problems over time.
ADA (American Dental Association) state that Amalgam is safe filling material that has been used for a hundred years without health problems. Other health agencies state that mercury is used in very low amount that not capable of causing health problems.
Although no studies have proven that amalgam fillings can cause some form of risk to your health, pregnant women shouldn’t get it as mercury vapor can pass placenta.
Is Amalgam a good choice for my teeth?
If you concern about durability and price, Amalgam is the best choice for you as it is the most durable filling material available in the market due to its properties. But if you care about appearance or have a small size tooth decay, it is better to go for other option of treatment as composite filling material.