Amalgam Silver Fillings
Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.
Amalgam is still the most popular tooth filling material in the world. It has been used worldwide for over 200 years, and almost everyone in the industrialized world has at least one or two amalgam fillings in his/her teeth. It is estimated that millions of amalgam restorations are placed in decayed teeth every year.
The advantages of amalgam restorations are that they are incredibly durable, not likely to break, and last a LONG time. Five to ten years is the average, however, in a very clean mouth not exposed to too much sugar, twenty years is not an uncommon life span for a well done amalgam. It is not very technique sensitive, which means that the skill of the dentist is less important to the wear of an amalgam than it is with the other types of restorations.
Amalgam is a self sealing restoration, which means that once it is placed, a “benign corrosion” takes place underneath the filling and this corrosion fills microscopic voids between the tooth and the amalgam. This corrosion has a passive expanding effect on the filling compensating for wearing. Moreover, this corrosion is water resistant and once in place it prevents further corrosion, and the entry of fluids containing bacteria which are the agents that cause more decay. This self sealing property is unique to amalgam. This is one of the many reasons why amalgam fillings resist recurrent decay much better than composite posterior fillings, especially in patients with large restorations.
Although many dental offices have opted not to use amalgam as a dental filling material (especially the "HMO/DMO" insurance or managed care driven dental offices), Dr. Alvarez believes it is extremely important that the patient knows the “ truth “ and benefits of this material which is a “ far better option” then PLASTIC (bonding/composite) filling for mid to large posterior teeth restorations.