Amalgam fillings, also known as silver-colored fillings, are made from a combination of metals such as tin, copper, silver and mercury. This combination of metals gives amalgam its renowned strength and durability. These fillings usually last 20+ years compared to composite fillings which typically last about 5-10 years. However it is very common to see these amalgam fillings last more than 50 years. Because of its greater strength and longevity, these fillings are particularly useful for use on the molars in the back of the mouth, where the most chewing occurs or with individuals who are decay prone. Unfortunately, this filling material is becoming obsolete in many offices in part due to a comparatively lower insurance payment from insurance companies. Despite what you may have heard amalgam fillings are not toxic and should not be removed if they are still in good working order. Numerous studies have been done on this subject and none have been able to prove the contrary. Amalgam fillings are FDA approved and studies show that individuals are exposed to more mercury from eating seafood regularly than they are from having amalgam fillings placed into their mouth. Please refer to this FDA link for more information.
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