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Amalgam use at our practice

I have never heard the term’ phase-down’ before but have heard it a few times recently in relation to dental amalgam – the silver filling material long used by dentists to fill back teeth. This is the material that contains mercury.

There really is no evidence that amalgam is harmful to us…either to dental personnel or to you, our patient. There are, however,  real issues regarding its safe disposal in the practice setting and environmental concerns relating to mercury contamination. .

Dentists are being asked to ‘phase down’ its use though the article makes it clear this may take a generation.

So do we still use it at Salisbury House, and if so,  why? Well, yes we do. But only just.

Amalgam is a terrific material in many respects but its appearance lets it down. When first placed an amalgam filling doesn’t look too bad but over the years it tarnishes to almost black. Many patients dislike this and I don’t blame them at all. Modern white filling material often makes a great alternative. White filling material is, however, more difficult to manipulate and takes much longer to place. This is reflected in the cost of white fillings. On occasions we encounter very large fillings that need replacement and  in order to achieve an aesthetic result we have to advise an inlay or onlay (see the practice website for an explanation

I still have amalgam in the drawer and once or twice a year will use it. It’s great for building up heavily broken down teeth prior to placing a crown and for, well, building up heavily broken down teeth prior to placing a crown. At Salisbury House we have already phased down its use. It’s good to be so far ahead of the game.