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What is an amalgam filling?

Amalgam fillings are the most common fillings out. While the name sounds complicated, these are the silver fillings that many people have. While they’re commonly called silver fillings, they’re actually a mix (amalgamation) of mercury, copper, silver, and tin. Approximately half of the amalgam filling is made of mercury because of it superior strength and durability.

Mercury sounds dangerous, are these fillings safe?

Yes, the mercury found in amalgam fillings is completely safe. After the filling is mixed, its chemical makeup is changed. While some unreliable sources say that chewing releases harmful mercury, the truth is that even if a patient chews, the amount of mercury released is far less that the mercury in food, air, and water. Numerous studies support the fact that amalgam fillings are totally safe for all patients.

Why use amalgam fillings?

These fillings have been a favorite for over 150 years and are the safest, most affordable, and most durable option to fill a cavity and fight decay. Some estimates even put the number at over one billion fillings placed in patients’ mouths each year. The reason these fillings are so popular is because the amalgam material is easy to work with and work for nearly every budget.

Why can’t I use an alternative to amalgam fillings?

Ultimately, the material used for your filling will depend on what Dr. Singh determines is best for you. For example, we offer composite fillings, however, they are more expensive and often only used for cosmetic reasons. Other materials, including gold and porcelain, are both expensive and have to be completed over several visits. Gold is the only material stronger than amalgam.

What if a patient has a mercury allergy?

Although mercury allergies are not common, we recommend anyone who believes they are allergic to mercury get tested. If you’re truly a part of the less than one percent of the population that has a mercury allergy, then we will choose a different filling material.

I’ve heard that mercury fillings can be dangerous, can I get mine removed?

While you can have any filling removed, there is no evidence to support the claim that amalgam fillings are dangerous. In fact, patients would experience unnecessary discomfort if they had a filling removed and replaced, risk damaging the tooth, and have to pay additional fees.

Are dentists exposed to mercury while they work?

When we mix the amalgam for a filling, the materials are stored in small, premixed capsules. This reduces the probability of a mercury spill. Fillings today contain the smallest amount of mercury possible to still get superb results. The amount of mercury found in everyday things like food and water is actually more than what is present in a dental laboratory.

If you’re in need of a filling, particularly at the back of your mouth, we tend to recommend amalgam because it’s strong and affordable. Give us a call to learn more about the options available to treat cavities.