What is Dental Amalgam?

Dental Amalgam is made by combining mercury, silver, tin, copper and zinc. First invented by the Chinese in the 7th century who used mercury and silver alone. For more than 150 years it has been the only material that dentist have to work with to do a filling. In the last 20 years, new materials have been developed that eliminate the problems inherent in this material.

The 3 Main problems are:

1. Appearance – Not Cosmetically Appealing

2. Toxicity – Mercury content is a known poison

3. Corrosion Expansion – Structural Time bomb


The material is silver when fresh and dark off black when old giving the tooth an unnatural appearance.


Mercury is a toxic or poisonous material and is harmful to your health. Experts argue that the levels released in the body by amalgam fillings are not harmful while some say that it is enough to depress kidney function, affect the liver and the brain.

Corrosion Expansion

As the filling ages, the amalgam material starts to corrode and break down. This is accompanied by an expansion of the material just like rusting iron swells. This expansion puts the tooth enamel under stress, which will eventually cause the tooth to crack as the tooth itself ages also. Age has the effect of making the tooth more brittle and making the amalgam expands more. Therefore the older the amalgam the more the likelihood of the tooth fracturing.


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