Dr. Vikrant Kundu

BDS (Hons)
MDS ( Orthodontics )
CAIC ( Implantology Korea )
ADIC ( Implantology Israel )
CHIEF MENTOR, Mirell International

What Is An Amalgam Filling

What are Dental Fillings and Its Use?

Dental Fillings helps to restore damaged teeth by decay back to their ordinary function, and prevent further decay. Your dentist will take into account certain factors when selecting which filling material type would be most suitable for you. These factors include expanse of the repair required and the cost to be incurred.

What is Amalgam?

An amalgam also known as silver filling is a common type used to fill cavities. Amalgam filling is made up of mixture of silver, copper, zinc, tin, and mercury. Sometimes indium or palladium is used. Mercury contributes to approximately 50% of the mixture. It lasts for at least 10 years, or generally longer. When it comes to cost, it is the least expensive type of restorative material.

This Traditional (non-bonded) filling is used in dentistry for over 150 years but off late concerns has been raised about the use of amalgam because of its composition of mercury present in it. Thereby, amalgam is used less often than back in times.


Robust in nature. They can prevail against the pressure of chewing.
It takes just one dental visit to do amalgam
Less costly than the substitutes
Amalgam fillings are less sensitive to moisture during the filling process as compared to composite resin.


Amalgam doesn't accurately match the color of your original teeth.
Amalgam filling being non-bonded does not bond (hold together) with your tooth.
It can erode and abrade over time. This can lead to discoloration where the filling meets the tooth.
The cavity preparation by your dentist needs undercuts or ledges to keep the filling intact. It may require removing more of the tooth to form a secure pocket.
Some people may be allergic to mercury or be skeptical about its impacts.

What to Expect During an Amalgam Filling

You may first be given a local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. Then, using a drill, your dentist will cut through the enamel for tooth decay removal. The dentist will next shape or make pocket to prepare tooth for the filling. Then comes etching, in which an acid gel will be used before placing the filling for a bonded filling. An application of resin will then be performed to harden and making it strong using a bright light along. Your dentist will finally polish the tooth after the filling has been placed.

What is The Use of Mercury in Amalgam?

Mercury helps making the filling material in amalgam ductile. When it is blended with an alloy powder, it forms a substance that is supple enough to mix and press into the tooth. But it also subsequently hardens and is able to resist the forces of chewing and biting.

Why Mercury is a Concern in Amalgam?

Mercury is a metal that naturally occurs in the environment. Mercury exists as a liquid in many thermometers. When heated, it becomes a gas. The level of mercury exposure from fillings is same as what people get from other sources in the environment like through air, food, drinking water, and soil. Mercury can form in body organs from all these sources too.

Very low mercury levels don't cause any harmful effects. However, higher levels — for instance, can cause several symptoms of fatigue, memory loss, nervousness and headaches.

The controversy over amalgam revolves around the amount of mercury fillings released and amount absorbed by the body. A recent research says that very little amount of mercury can be released in the form of vapor as the amalgam filling wears and is not completely inert once it is placed.

How About Safety of Amalgam Filling?

As mentioned earlier, the only concern came over use of amalgam is mercury. Nevertheless, millions of people get it done as there has been no logical reason found to restrict or limit the use of amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for children age 6 and above and for adults.

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe for Pregnant Women?

There is no ill health effects reported from amalgam fillings in pregnant women. Having said that, mercury can cross the placenta, pregnant women should avoid unnecessary dental care.

Are There Any Reactions to Amalgam Placement?

People have allergic reactions to the mercury in rare cases. And rare is actually rare and for those lucky ones other material types are also available.

Who Else Should Consider Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings?

People who already have good exposure to mercury can avoid amalgam. Examples may include people who are exposed to mercury through their jobs in fuel, oil or combustion industries, or who consume high amounts of seafood.

Tooth decay is no fun, and no one likes getting a filling. Fight cavities now to forgo fillings in the future!

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