Amalgam Dental Fillings at Bellevue Family Dentistry in Green Bay, WI
Dental amalgam is a combination of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Sometimes described as “silver-colored” fillings, dentists have used dental amalgam for more than 100 years. It lasts a long time and is less expensive than other cavity-filling materials such as tooth-colored composites or gold fillings.
Because of their durability, these silver-colored fillings are often the best choice for large cavities or those in the back teeth where a lot of force is needed to chew. In addition, the amalgam hardens quickly and is helpful in areas that are difficult to keep dry during placement, such as below the gum line. Finally, because it takes less time to place than tooth-colored fillings, amalgam is also an effective material for children and special needs people who may have difficulty staying still during treatment.
One disadvantage of amalgam is that these fillings are not natural looking, especially when the filling is near the front of the mouth, where it may show when you laugh or speak.
Is Dental Amalgam Safe?
Although dental amalgam is a safe, commonly used dental material, you may wonder about its mercury content. It’s important to know that it forms a safe, stable material when combined with other metals. Be assured that credible scientific studies affirm the safety of dental amalgam. Study after study shows amalgam is safe and effective for filling cavities. The American Dental Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization agree that dental amalgam is a safe and effective cavity-filling material based on extensive scientific evidence. The Alzheimer’s Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Autism Society of America, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society—all science-based organizations like the ADA—also say that amalgam poses no health risk. Of course, you’ll always want to talk with your dentist about your situation to make the most well-informed choice, as with any dental work.
The Mayo Clinic stated that dental amalgam is a safe and durable choice for dental fillings. However, they also note that “there are several kinds of mercury. The mercury [methylmercury] found in water that can build up in fish and lead to health problems if you ingest too much is not the same type of mercury used in amalgam.” The ADA supports continued research on all dental filling materials. It would promptly inform the public if the scientific community and government regulatory bodies determined that any cavity filling material was unsafe for patients. Your dentist’s foremost priority is your health and safety. The ADA encourages you to talk with your dentist about your cavity treatment options and what’s right for you.