Amalgam is a material that has been used frequently until recent years. Therefore, the metal used on your molars may be amalgam. It has silver color immediately after treatment, but mercury elutes and turns blackish or dark-shaded brown over time.
The amalgam that comprises dental fillings is about 50 percent liquid mercury(amalgamated) to silver, nickel, and copper. Although mercury is safe at room temperature, it is highly poisonous in vapor form.
Who developed amalgam for dental treatment?
French dentist Auguste Taveau developed a dental amalgam by mixing mercury and powdered silver to make a paste and used it as a filler for cavities on patients starting in 1826 -The year that former US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died.
Amalgam fillings may expand and contract when exposed to temperature changes. Weakening the tooth wall leads to the possibility of fractures, which also allows bacteria to enter and cause decay.
Those who are allergic to metal need to avoid amalgam fillings because the fillings contain nickel.
Experts have divided opinions on safe mercury levels for dental treatment. Demark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany restricted the use of amalgam. Still, the American Dental Association's (ADA) 's official view is that amalgam's mercury is "safe."
The US Environmental Protection Agency prohibits dentists from disposing of amalgam as garbage. Dentists must dispose of it at a designated "hazardous waste disposal site."
Would you like to use it if there is a concern about using it? The use of amalgam is a divided opinion among dentists and researchers. If you have amalgam in your mouth, we will explain the potential concern of mercury and its appearance.
What is the best filling material, then?
Composite material is the best choice if you want the most natural finish possible and for your filling to be unnoticeable. White composite fillings just look more natural than silver fillings and also these tooth-colored fillings provide the strength needed for a longer-lasting and more aesthetically pleasing alternative for our patients; call our office today for more information on composite fillings.
Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 486 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2023 who have achieved this prestigious honor.