Why we steer clear of dental amalgam

Why we steer clear of dental amalgam

While amalgam has been used in dental fillings for the better part of the last century, it has a lot of significant risks that could outweigh its benefits. These cover many areas including preparation and how amalgam-free alternatives provide safer, more beneficial advantages in comparison. The following is a quick list of some problems with amalgam brought to light in recent years.


  1. Amalgam lacks durability compared to other materials.

Other materials like gold and ceramics are proven to last a lot longer. They may be expensive, but their durability can make them well worth the cost. In contrast, amalgam can still fracture and the difference between it and higher-priced materials can be very small. Amalgam, since it contains mercury, expands similar to the mercury in your thermometer. When expanding within a cavity in the tooth, this can result in the surrounding enamel breaking down, cracking and in some cases, completely fracturing. Some fractures can be restored, however, there are some that can result in extraction of the whole tooth.


  1. Composites have better, more organic benefits.

If you are looking for a low-cost alternative to gold fillings, then know there is one that is completely amalgam-free. Tooth-coloured composites are very affordable, and they are also known for effectively bonding with teeth. This makes them better at repairing damaged structures, whereas amalgam only coats and conceals.


  1. Applying amalgam can be a damaging process in itself.

Take note, applying amalgam often requires drilling out and chipping away damaged areas. This might compromise any possible efforts to restore a tooth. In fact, less and less of the tooth might remain if the amalgam filling is constantly replaced.


  1. The presence of mercury is a risk to some patients.

The presence of mercury in amalgam filling has stirred a good amount of controversy. This can be due to a number of reasons. There are certainly some people who have a mercury sensitivity and are strongly encouraged to use alternative materials in their fillings. Patients with a history of working in job areas filled with high mercury content (such as factories) are also advised to reduce their risks of poisoning.

Given the above reasons, we are avoiding dental amalgam in favour of more innovative materials. Likewise, the benefits of materials like composites and ceramics are drawing more consumer attention. It seems far more beneficial for both patients and practitioners to consider these better alternatives and improve the state of dental care as a whole.

The dentists at Dental on George specialise in the safe removal of amalgam fillings following stricting the guidelines described by the International Academy for Oral Medicine and Toxicology (www.iaomt.org).