Typically used to fill holes in the back teeth, silver amalgam fillings are made up from a highly durable combination of silver, mercury, tin, zinc and copper. This means they are strong enough to withstand chewing, grinding and other wear-and-tear for at least 10 years – and usually more.
The use of silver amalgam fillings has been declining in recent years due to the development of high-quality white fillings which are basically invisible in the mouth. Silver fillings are less natural-looking (and therefore less aesthetically pleasing), and can also tend to discolour over time with corrosion and tarnishing.
However, amalgams do have some advantages – namely their strength, affordability, lack of sensitivity to moisture, and the fact that they can be used for larger cavities in the back teeth. Like all fillings, they can also help to repair decayed teeth, restore tooth function, and prevent future decay.
The suitability of silver amalgam fillings will depend on several factors, including cost, extent of the tooth damage, and location of the filling. During the procedure, your dentist will: