Call Us: 503-284-3575
Lorin W. Rice, DMD
Reed T. Hall, DDS
Ted R. Rask DMD
2824 NE Wasco, Suite 210
Portland, OR 97232
Amalgam Fillings or "silver fillings"
Dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material, and has been used by dentists for more than a century. 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 fillings are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing is the greatest because they can withstand very high chewing loads. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response. Dr. Rice, Dr. Hall, Dr. Rask may recommend amalgam fillings to children, as it is more cost effective for baby teeth.
Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed, not bonding to the tooth structure, and reports of increased fracture rates in the tooth structure. The silver-colored filling contains approximately 50% mercury. It is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. To prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.