restorations

Composite White Colored Fillings

Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings.  Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.  This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession. 

Amalgam restoration

Dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable restorative material

Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world.

Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.  The chemical properties of elemental mercury allow it to react with and bind together the silver/copper/tin alloy particles to form an amalgam. 

Dental amalgam fillings are also known as “silver fillings” because of their silver-like appearance.  Despite the name, "silver fillings" do contain elemental mercury.

When placing dental amalgam, the dentist first drills the tooth to remove the decay and then shapes the tooth cavity for placement of the amalgam filling. Next, under appropriate safety conditions, the dentist mixes the powdered alloy with the liquid mercury to form an amalgam putty. (These components are provided to the dentist in a capsule as shown in the graphic.) This softened amalgam putty is placed and shaped in the prepared cavity, where it rapidly hardens into a solid filling.

Dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable restorative material. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively. Amalgam restorations have not been found to be associated with adverse health effects.Patient concerns regarding longevity of the restoration and about cost may be considerations in decision making about restoration material options

Alzheimer's Association

"According to the best available scientific evidence, there is no relationship between silver dental fillings and Alzheimer's.  … Public health agencies, including the FDA, the U.S. Public Health Service and the World Health Organization, endorse the continued use of amalgam as safe, strong, inexpensive material for dental restorations. "Source: Alzheimer's Association website. Alzheimer's Myths. Accessed April 5, 2016.


International Journal of Dentistry
According to the available articles and data reviewed in this paper, the following conclusions can be drawn:

1) Mercury released from dental amalgam restorations does not contribute to systemic disease or systemic toxicological effects. 

2) Allergic reactions to mercury from dental amalgam restorations have been demonstrated, but these are extremely rare.

 3) Available scientific data do not justify the discontinuation of dental amalgam use from clinical practice or the replacement with other single-tooth restorative dental materials."

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