Amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam is a special type of alloy with mercury being its principal constituent.
Dental amalgam fillings are used for posterior decayed tooth.



Amalgam filling has references in Chinese medic since 600 AD.

Earlier, dentist used to make putty with a mix of silver coin and mercury to fill in a defective tooth.

G V Black developed a formula for amalgam alloy to overcome expansion problems.

First amalgam war

American society of dental surgeon put down the use of all filling material other than gold in 1845.

Second amalgam war – German dentist in 1920 mercury in the amalgam leads to serious health issues

Third amalgam war -begin in 1980 in Colorado. Mercury is the cause for heart and nervous diseases. When amalgam fillings removed, the patient started recovering from Alzheimer’s and various diseases.

Current status of amalgam

The popularity of amalgam diminished with the invention of the composite.

High mastication force of 200 MPa can break the amalgam fillings.

This also releases the mercury in the oral cavity.

An amalgam filling contains 40-50% of mercury.

6 amalgam fillings would release 0.85 micrograms of mercury per day.

Hypersensitivity to amalgam is rare.

Pros of amalgam fillings

The compressive strength of an amalgam filling is almost equal to a tooth.

Usually amalgam fractures in bulk. Keeping the bulk of 1.5-2 mm provides good strength.

You can feel the taste of food with amalgam fillings. Since it a good thermal conductor.

Amalgam has Long term durability.

Amalgam fillings are very cost effective.

Cons of amalgam fillings

It doesn’t match the tooth color

Amalgam is non-toxic but mercury is poisonous.

Mercury in form of liquid and vapor is hazardous.

Mercury has a high vapor pressure. Vapourization is most likely to occur during condensation of amalgam.

Is amalgam filling safe in pregnancy?


No adverse effects of amalgam filling have come into notice throughout the pregnancy. This also includes no adverse effects on the newborn.

Mercury is usually present in the amniotic fluid and increases with intake of fish.


wootooth has got you some unrevealed facts about amalgam fillings.

While removing amalgam fillings there is a peak rise in the level of mercury.

These levels (4 micrograms/L) are twice as great as inserting it.

Body can’t retain metallic mercury and excretes through the body via urine.

Neurological changes are not detected until mercury in urine reaches 500 microgram/L.

And is 170 times the value found during insertion of an amalgam filling.

Allergy to mercury

Tissue damage with painful blisters or ulceration.

Also burning sensation with a delayed reaction.

Swelling of the mucosa of throat and eyes is an outcome of the immediate reaction.

When the two adjacent teeth have decay in-between, prepare the larger one first and fill the smaller one first.

How to manage mercury spills?

Never use a vacuum cleaner

Don’t use household cleaning products particularly those containing ammonia or chlorine

Never let mercury to go down the drain

Avoid using a paintbrush or broom.

Don’t allow people to walk around the spilled mercury with the shoes.

Use mercury cleanup kits to clean small spills of mercury.

Large spills requires experienced enviornment personnel.

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