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  • 9 November 2015

  • Family dentistry

Mercury in amalgam fillings

If the term “dental amalgam” doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s probably because you know it by its more common name, “silver filling.” In fact, an amalgam is a mixture of several metals, including mercury, silver, copper and tin. If you’re concerned about mercury, you can rest assured in this case. It’s present in very small quantities in the amalgam and poses no threat to your health.

Nonetheless, many patients understandably ask their dentists:

Should I change my silver fillings for another type of filling material?

Not necessarily. The amalgam is very solid and reliable. Generally speaking, an amalgam filling is replaced when it’s defective and no longer protecting the tooth as it’s supposed to. At that point, your dentist will likely recommend filling the tooth with a material made from plastic resin, the composite. Your annual dentist appointment is therefore critical in order to monitor your fillings.

Note that a variety of treatment alternatives exist for replacing a defective filling or treating a decayed tooth.

Tooth decay