Replacing resin amalgams
Amalgam is a sealing material that is essentially a mercury, silver, copper, and tin alloy. It has been used since the 19th century.
Although the colour of the amalgam poses an aesthetic issue for some, it remains a low-cost option that is very durable.
It is important to note that dental amalgam can release small quantities of mercury, especially as you chew. According to scientific literature, there is no evidence to suggest that dental amalgam causes illness. Absorbing a very small dose every day does not lead to any pathological effects within the body.
Health Canada maintains this position and asserts that a complete ban on its use is not warranted, and that there is no need to replace amalgam fillings that are still in good condition. The Ordre des dentistes du Québec is in agreement.
However, there are certain contraindications for the use of dental amalgam. Such is the case for:
- People who are allergic to mercury (an allergy that is detectable via oral exam and patch test that only affects 1% of the population);
- People who suffer from kidney failure.
Pros and cons
The use of dental amalgam provides waterproof, durable, abrasion-resistant restoration. However, it does not clinically bind to or strengthen tooth enamel. Generally thought to be visually unappealing, the colour of dental amalgam is admittedly indiscreet. It can also lead to severe allergic reactions, but only in extremely rare cases.