For thousands of years man had searched for a stable and effective filling material to restore broken and decayed teeth until an alloy called dental amalgam was created in the early 1800s. It revolutionized dentistry.

Dental Amalgam, which is a mix of silver, tin, copper and mercury is better known by the public as “silver fillings.” Amalgam is one of the most commonly used materials to fill cavities. It has a proven track record for over 100 years, is widely used because it is durable, and has proven to be one of the safest, effective, and least expensive materials to fill a cavity.

In the form of amalgam, the mercury in dental amalgam is inactive. If you’re among the less than one percent of the population that is allergic to mercury, you may have an allergic response. If this is the case, symptoms, which are similar to common skin allergies, usually disappear with two to three weeks.

Your dentist will recommend the best method to restore a tooth, whether you are replacing a filling, repairing a damaged tooth, or filling a tooth for the first time. Alternative materials are being used more often as advances in materials and techniques allow for greater latitude in choosing a restorative material to repair a damaged tooth.

Alternative restorative materials include composites [synthetic resins with fillers], glass ionomers, gold, porcelain, and combinations of these materials. The costs and time to place these materials varies widely.

Regardless of the choice you and your Michigan Dental Association dentist make, the aim of using any material is to restore your teeth and return you and your mouth to optimum health.