Amalgam is one of the best filling materials when dentists need to place fillings in areas of the mouth that are difficult to keep dry, such as molars (back teeth) or cavities below the gum line. Amalgam or composite resin are the most common materials. Amalgam and composite fillings are the most popular but glass ionomers are gaining recognition and my dentist went over those with me last time I was in his office. Amalgam fillings are the cheapest and the cast gold fillings have the longest durability (up to 15 years).
Amalgam fillings have a silver coloring which some people don’t want in their mouth in which case they choose the tooth colored composite style. Amalgam is a metal, which expands and contracts with hot, cold and biting. Amalgam fillings also raise a red flag because they contain mercury, which is a very toxic element. Amalgam Fillings Amalgam fillings may contain mercury, and are often referred to as metal fillings.
Amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury liquid and small pieces of silver and other metals such as copper, tin and zinc. Amalgam fillings are made up of a composition of metals containing silver, copper, tin and zinc and mercury liquid. Amalgam: A silver/mercury mixture, which is used for fillings.
Amalgam tends to be self sealing which means that once it is placed, a small amount of corrosion takes place underneath the filling and this corrosion fills microscopic voids between the tooth and the filling. Amalgam fillings must engage undercuts within the cavity preparation so they will not dislodge. Amalgam also requires a minimum depth of a millimeter and a half in order to form its crystalline structure while composite fillings have no minimum depth. Amalgam fillings are normally fitted onto the back ‘chewing’ teeth.
Amalgam, gold or porcelain fillings cannot be used with laser or air abrasion prepared fillings. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response. Amalgam is widely used for direct fillings, and done in single appointment. Amalgam fillings expand with age, possibly cracking the tooth and requiring repair and filling replacement. Amalgam removed from teeth is classified as toxic waste in various countries, but in many countries it is not regulated, including the United States.