Dental Amalgam is a popularly used dental filling that has been utilized for more than 150 years. It is an amalgamation of mercury with a minimum of one other metal. Amalgam has several benefits compared to other restorative materials, like, durability, cost-effectiveness, strength, and also bacteriostatic properties.
Amalgam is used in the dental field for a lot of reasons. It is pretty easy to use and manipulate during positioning; it stays soft for a little time so it can be packed to fill any uneven volume, and then develops a hard compound. Amalgam has greater longevity compared to other direct restorative materials, like composite. On average, maximum amalgam fillings remain for 10 to 12 years approximately, while resin-based composites stay for about 5-6 years approximately. However, with the latest advancements in composite material science and a clear understanding of the technique-sensitivity of placing it, it must be kept in mind that this difference is reducing.
There are instances that show that composite (white fillings) performs better than amalgam; when amalgam is not either suitable or when a more conservative approach would be advantageous, composite is the most dentist prescribed restorative material. These cases would involve small occlusal restorations, in which amalgam would need the elimination of a more appropriate tooth structure, and also in “enamel sites beyond the height of contour.”
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has stated that both composite and amalgam materials are considered effective and safe for tooth restoration.