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What Is Dental Amalgam and Why You Need Them?

Dental amalgam is a type of filling material which is used for filling cavities that are caused due to decay. The amalgam filling has been used for over 150 years for hundreds and millions of patients every year across the globe. The amalgam is a mixture of metals, mercury, and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Almost 50% of the dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. The chemical properties of the elemental mercury make it react and bind together with the copper/ silver/ tin alloy particles for creating an amalgam.


The dental amalgam fillings in Calgary are also known as silver fillings. The name has been derived because of its silver-like appearance. For placing the dental amalgam, the dentist requires to drill the tooth and remove the decay. He then shapes the tooth cavity for placing the amalgam filling. The dentist in Calgary, AB then mixes the powdered alloy with liquid mercury for creating amalgam putty. The softened amalgam putty is placed and shaped inside the cavity where it hardens into a solid filling.


Things to Know Before Getting a Dental Amalgam


There are different types of filling and the type of filling to be used is purely a decision that you and your dentist need to make. One of the major benefits of dental amalgam is that they are strong and durable. Also, it is one of the least expensive materials.

Why is Mercury Used in Dental Amalgam?


As seen earlier, almost half of the dental amalgam is liquid mercury and the remaining half is powdered alloy of silver, tin, and copper. Mercury is essentially used for binding the alloy particles together into a solid, durable, and strong filling. The unique properties of mercury make it an important component of the dental amalgam which contributes to durability.


Concern about the Presence of Mercury in Dental Amalgam


If you already have amalgam fillings and they are in good condition without any decay beneath the filling, you must not get your amalgam fillings removed or replaced. Removing the amalgam fillings unnecessarily can lead to loss of healthy tooth structure and exposes you to mercury vapor that is released during the removal process. If at all you are concerned about any kind of allergy or sensitivity to mercury or any other metals in the dental amalgam, it is better to discuss the treatment options with your dentist.


Types of Dental Amalgam


The amalgams are named according to the other metals in the alloy.


  • Silver Amalgam
  • Gold Amalgam
  • Zinc Amalgam
  • Aluminum Amalgam
  • Sodium Amalgam

Benefits of Using Dental Amalgams

  • One of the benefits of amalgam fillings is that they can be used even in the areas that are difficult to reach and where moisture control is an issue. on the other hand, the tooth-colored fillings need to be completely dry when filled so that it can be successful.
  • This type of filling is less expensive than other options.
  • It is said that the edges of the tooth next to the filling are more resistant to cavities as compared to tooth-colored fillings.
  • Dentists say that people who are at the higher risk of getting cavities must use amalgam fillings.

  • The silver amalgams are strong enough to withstand the chewing forces for a longer duration of time. They are less likely to break than other fillings such as composite or ceramic.
  • The amalgam fillings need only dental sessions unlike other types of fillings.
  • The amalgam fillings can last for up to seven years.

There can be some disadvantages of using amalgam as some people are allergic to mercury or other elements in amalgam. However, very rare cases of allergy are reported every year. It is said that pregnant women must avoid getting amalgam fillings but the existing amalgam fillings don’t need to be removed.

It is to be known that some parts of the globe have banned the use of amalgam fillings but others continue to use them which includes the USA. The aim of using amalgam fillings is to offer a durable, stable, and cost-effective option to patients for filling the cavities which have formed as a result of decay or wearing of teeth.