Amalgam has been used as a dental filling material for more than 150 years.
An alloy of mainly silver, tin, copper and mercury.
- Hard and durable; high wear resistance.
- Easy to use.
International dental health organization like the World Health Organization, Federation Dentaire International, and also the U.S. Food & Drug Administration have declared dental amalgam as safe and effective.
The followings are some queries about amalgam:
- Mercury, which is poisonous, is used in dental amalgam. Is amalgam filling safe?
Amalgam contains various metals such as silver, copper and tin, as well as mercury. When mercury is combined with these metals, it becomes an inactive stable substance. Only under unusually great pressure or abrasion will the amalgam release a minute amount of mercury vapour. As compared to the daily dosage of mercury being absorbed from the environment, such as food, water and air, the minuscule amount of mercury released from the amalgam fillings is insignificant.
- Should people have the amalgam fillings in their mouths removed in order to prevent certain serious illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease?
There is no scientific literature or evidence which shows that the removal of amalgam fillings helps patients recover from their illnesses, nor is there any evidence which suggests such a relationship. Unless there is an allergic reaction, it is not advisable to have amalgam fillings replaced because of the following reasons:
- Replacement of filling materials will lead to further loss of tooth structure.
- Amalgam is still the most preferred filling material owing to its safety and effectiveness. Tooth-coloured filling material such as composite is not as resistant to stress as amalgam and is not suitable for large cavities. Gold is an effective material, but it is expensive.
- Are some people allergic to amalgam?
Allergic reaction to amalgam is very rare. Within 150 years of usage, there were only 100 documented cases. This type of patients should use other filling materials.
The greyish-silver colour of amalgam is not esthetically appealing.
It is mainly used for restoring back teeth where stress load is high.
Procedures for amalgam filling
A substance made up of acrylic resin filled with inorganic substances such as glass, quartz as additives to enhance the strength.
Esthetic; colour is similar to that of natural teeth.
Not as hard as amalgam.
Procedures for composite filling
Glass Ionomer Cement
A substance made up of aluminosilicate glass powder and a liquid polyacrylic acid.
- Esthetic; colour is similar to that of natural teeth, but lack of translucency.
- Bonds to the tooth.
- Fluoride releasing prevents recurrent tooth decay around the filling material.
Insufficient strength to bear chewing force in long term, relatively low wear resistance.
Procedures for Glass Ionomer Cement filling
To increase the strength of Glass Ionomer Cement, acrylic resin is added. For this type of material, light curing is required to harden it.
It is a mixture of composite and glass ionomer cement.
- It possesses the properties of both composite and glass ionomer cement.
- Better appearance and better wear resistance than glass ionomer cement but not as good as composite.
- The manipulation is easier than composite.
Used as filling material for deciduous dentition.
Procedures for Compomer filling