Amalgam fillings, sometimes referred to as ‘silver fillings’, are the most commonly placed filling material according to the American Dental Association (ADA). The material typically contains about 50% mercury Silver and mercury form a stable compound the ADA maintains is safe, as opposed to elemental mercury which is considered a toxic and hazardous material. Several European countries have totally banned the use of this compound for filling teeth.
Although we don’t place amalgam fillings, we remove old ones using a special technique to reduce exposure to aerosolized mercury silver amalgam.
Amalgam fillings will not only corrode and turn dark as they age, but its silver mercury content expands and contracts in response to hot and cold foods. This action, over time, tends to fracture teeth from the inside until the tooth eventually breaks or the filling falls out leaving the cavity exposed.