Dental Amalgam is a commonly used dental filling that has been used for over 150 years. It is a mixture of mercury with at least one other metal. Amalgam has many advantages over other restorative material, such as low cost, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effects. There are also disadvatages such as appearance and expansion of the filling material over time.
Amalgam is used in dentistry for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use and manipulate during placement; it remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any irregular volume, and then forms a hard compound.
In most circumstances, a tooth colored composite restoration is the material of choice. However, there are still some specific instances where Dr. Malan may recommend an amalgam filling, such as a baby tooth or when proper isolation of the tooth cannot be acheived.
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.