For over 100 years, dentists have been using amalgam for filling dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and is made from a mixture of tin, mercury and other metals. In recent years, white composite fillings have become more popular because they are more aesthetically pleasing and eliminate concerns about the mercury in amalgam. However, composite fillings have their own issues and amalgam is still an excellent choice for fillings in many situations.
Amalgam is the least expensive material for dental fillings. The material itself costs less, amalgam fillings are relatively easy to place, and it takes less time for your dentist to place an amalgam filling. These days, when many patients don’t have dental insurance coverage, the cost savings on amalgam fillings can really make a difference.
In addition, amalgam has a proven track record as a strong, durable dental filling material. It can withstand the biting and chewing pressures exerted on the back teeth and can last 10 to 15 years or more with proper care. Composites are getting stronger, but still have a ways to go before they can match the strength and durability of amalgam.
Some dental patients are concerned about the mercury in amalgam fillings. These concerns have been around almost as long as amalgam fillings themselves, yet there is no scientific research to backup any claims of health hazards attributable to amalgam fillings. In fact, all of the scientific data indicates that the level of exposure to the mercury in amalgam is so small that it poses no significant health risk.
Amalgam is still used by dentists every day and is an inexpensive and dependable choice for dental fillings.
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