“Silver” fillings are actually only about ¼ silver! In fact, these fillings are only called “silver” because they are silver in color. The filling is approximately half mercury. Other metals are mixed in with the silver and include tin, copper and zinc. Because the “silver” filling is really a mixture of many metals, these fillings are often referred to as Amalgam Fillings.
Amalgam fillings have the advantage of being very easy to place and are relatively inexpensive. However, they are not very esthetic and there is a lot of controversy regarding the toxicity of the mercury in the fillings.
Another disadvantage to amalgam fillings is that they may require the removal of more tooth structure than a composite (tooth-colored) filling in order to work properly. In almost all cases, you will need to be numb when receiving an amalgam filling (this may not be true for a composite filling).
Why get an amalgam filling?
- When teeth are chipped, cracked or worn and need to be replaced
- To restore cavities in teeth
- When a less expensive alternative to composite (tooth-colored) fillings is desired
What can I expect?
Amalgam fillings are usually placed in just a single appointment. After getting you numb, we will remove any decayed or infected tooth structure and your tooth will be restored with amalgam metal. You cannot eat any hard foods whatsoever on an amalgam filling for 24 hours, as the amalgam takes that long to become stable.