Dental amalgam is a common type of filling used to cure dental cavities. Dental professionals have been using amalgam filling material for over 150 years. And millions of patients have got their tooth decay treated with the amalgam filling.
Dental amalgam consists of a combination of different metals such as liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of copper, tin, and silver. The chemical properties of mercury make it the binding agent between mercury and the alloy particles to form a nice amalgam.
Amalgam filling looks like silver and that is why it has got its name from “silver filling”.
Amalgam Filling Process
To treat your tooth decay with the amalgam filling, your dentist needs to first make the dental amalgam. But before that, the dentist will drill the tooth, remove the decay, and make the place for the amalgam filling.
Dentists use special kind of capsules consisting of liquid mercury and the alloy powder (containing tin, copper, and silver) for making the dental amalgam.
They have advanced tools to puncture this capsule and mix the ingredients without removing them from the capsule.
After mixing, they open the capsule taking utmost safety precautions. This is a soft filling that goes into the prepared cavity and once it is placed the mercury forms compound with other metals and thus becomes a solid filling.
And since mercury mixes with other mercury, by the time it enters your mouth, it no longer remains toxic.
Dentists use high-powered suction to remove excess amalgam from the mouth if any. Also, there is special kind of disposal system for amalgam at dentist’s clinic. They have to ensure that this amalgam does not enter the plumbing system as it may lead to choking.
Benefits of Amalgam Filling
It is essential to consult your dentist in clyde about your requirements and choices before you decide the filling material for your tooth decay treatment. As per the FDA, the benefits of amalgam filling are:
- This filling material is quite strong and it has a long life.
- They are almost unbreakable in comparison to other filling materials.
- It is least expensive of available filling materials.
Potential Risks of Amalgam Filling
Some people are worried about the mercury content in amalgam filling. Here is what FDA has to say about it:
Amalgam filling consists of elemental mercury. But FDA has not been able to find any connection between the mercury levels associated with amalgam filling and any kind of health issues in the general population.
But developing fetuses and young children could be more prone to the toxic effects of mercury present in amalgam filling. So it is best to take your dentist’s advice.
However, if you have already used amalgam filling for cavities treatment then it is not advisable to remove them just to get rid of mercury from your body.
If the filling is fine then removing strong fillings will release more mercury vapors and lead to further tooth decay.
Use of Mercury in Amalgam Fillings
Almost 50% of the dental amalgam filling is made of liquid mercury. Why? Dental amalgam filling’s remaining 50% is an alloy of tin, copper, and silver.
Mercury helps in binding the alloy particles, which is essential to make a solid and durable filling.
Also, mercury remains in liquid form at room temperature. These two unique properties of mercury are responsible for giving amalgam filling its durability.