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What is a Dental Amalgam?


In this day and age, getting a filling from a dentist is a common event – especially for individuals over the age of 16. A dental amalgam is a type of filling, and it comprises a combination of copper, tin, silver and even mercury. The composition forms a silver color when liquidized, and this has led dental amalgams to be called ‘silver’ fillings by experts and patients alike in and around Orem Utah.


The material is much longer lasting than other types of cavity-fillers (consider gold fillings and enamel-colored equivalents). In many instances, the composition is said to be able to last over 100 years, and this is what makes them ideal for filling large cavities that typically occur towards the back of the mouth. On the rare occasions that fillings are needed for young children, amalgams are the perfect option as they are quick to set and easy to apply.

If there’s one complaint that patients have when knowing that an amalgam is due to be fitted, it’s the noticeably. With a bright silver hue, amalgams can be pretty obvious, especially if placed towards the front side of the mouth. In most cases however, an amalgam will be applied at the back of the mouth and as a result; out of sight.

Just How Safe Are Amalgams?

This is one of the first questions that people ask when broaching the subject of amalgams; and most likely because of the presence of mercury. The fact is that mercury is only a risk to the human body when in its rawest form – and when combined with other metals, it forms a stabilized material that can be exposed to any other element without concern.

Dozens of organized studies have taken place over the years to analyze the effects of the mercury content within amalgams, and each study has resulted in the same answer – an entirely risk free use. These organized studies were carried out by some of the most notable authorities in the United States, including the American Dental Association, the FDA and several other scientific establishments.

In 2014, the Mayo Clinic commented on just how safe and reliable amalgams are for dental fillings, and it was further mentioned that the type of mercury used in dental fillings isn’t actually the notorious element used within older thermometers. Continued research is still underway regarding the effect of amalgams on the human body, but the majority of these are on-going and have been in progress for years.

Protecting Teeth from Cavities

The best way to avoid the need for fillings is to perform the following actions:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and your toothpaste should contain fluoride
  • Floss in between meals to remove traces of food
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients
  • Stop by your local dentistry office every so often

If you ever notice any pain in your teeth or gums, then consider booking an appointment with your with us.

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