A Answers (7)
Dentist use silver fillings because they are durable, strong, and affordable. Fillings are used to restore and repair teeth when you get a cavity. Silver fillings are strong enough to hold up to heavy chewing, and they can last 10 to 15 years. Silver fillings also tend to cost less than tooth-colored, gold, or composite resin fillings.
American Dental Association answered
Dental amalgam (metal fillings) has been used by dentists for more than a century and is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.
Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line.
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, Dentistry, answered
Dentists have been using silver (amalgam) dental fillings for many years - it's affordable, they last and they are widely used. Watch dental expert Jonathan Levine, DMD, explain these factors, and also discuss why he chooses alternative materials.
Saul Miller, Dentistry, answered
Fillings restore a decayed or broken tooth to normal size and hopefully function. There are times, especially in back teeth, that a silver filling can provide the strongest, longest lasting, most decay resistant and most cost effective restoration.
At times, however, when a tooth has fractured severely or decayed significantly, the tooth may no longer be able to be filled. In such cases a build-up of the tooth followed by a crown, or cap, may be indicated.
While many fillings are placed into the tooth to "fill a hole", many modern materials, and at times silver fillings, are actually bonded to the tooth. As such, the bonded filling may restore some of the original strength to the tooth.
William M. Litaker, Dentistry, answered
Silver fillings are also called amalgam fillings. They have been used successfully to fill decayed teeth for many years. Silver fillings generally hold up better on the biting surfaces of the teeth. They also work better in areas of the mouth where it may be hard to keep the tooth dry as it is being filling. Patients prone to a lot of cavities generally do better with amalgam fillings.
Stephen H. Hook, Dentistry, answered
A dentist will select silver amalgam as a filling material because it is the best choice among the available alternatives. Silver fillings have advantages and disadvantages that make them better choices in some cases based on many different standards such as reliability, strength, cost, esthetics, safety, comfort, ease of manipulation and so forth. It is always the patient or the parent who has the final decision, but the dentist must advocate for the material that they feel is best in the particular situation. Many times that material is silver.
Discovery Health answered
Every type of material dentists use to rebuild teeth has advantages and disadvantages.
Silver fillings, or dental amalgam, have been around for more than 150 years. Amalgam is composed of many metals including silver, tin, copper, mercury, and zinc. These fillings are relatively inexpensive, durable, and time-tested. On the other hand, they are considered unaesthetic over time, they blacken and have been known to give teeth a gray appearance. They also do not strengthen the tooth. In recent years, some people have worried about the potential for mercury in dental amalgam to leak and possibly cause a wide variety of ailments. Research does not bear out this fear.