Amalgam fillings have been commonly used by dentists to fill cavities. While they are often referred to as “silver amalgam”, they are made out of a mixture of metals including mercury.
Dental amalgam has been commonly used as a filling material for dental cavities for over 150 years. It is a powdered alloy consisting of silver, tin, and copper. Mercury has unique properties and plays an important role in the dental amalgam. It binds the alloy particles together into a strong and solid filling contributing to its durability.
Over the decades, the material of “silver fillings” has raised some concerns because they contain elemental mercury. However, available evidence does not show that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam will lead to adverse health effects in the general population.
Patients may decide to remove their amalgam fillings when they are cracked, or they have an allergic reaction to the amalgam affecting the soft tissues near the filling.
When patients decide to get an amalgam filling removed, our team follows standard safety procedures to provide a safe environment during the removal process to patients and staff.
The procedure includes using a rubber dam, providing oxygen supply to both the patient and staff, using a high-volume suction device in the patients’ mouth, separate high volume extraction filtration systems and high-speed dental burs. These measures are used to try to prevent the reingestion of any excess mercury vapour.
We usually remove amalgam fillings in quadrants. This means that our team will remove all the amalgams in a quarter of the mouth at a time.