Amalgam is a liquid mercury and the mixture of metal alloy that is used to fill teeth cavities. Low-copper amalgam normally consists of 50% mercury, 22-23% silver, 14% tin, 8% copper and other trace metals. The percentage of mercury in amalgam is higher than the other metals because mercury can easily interact with water. Besides, mercury can enter our body through our skin,respiratory, food, and drink. As a material to fill teeth cavity, amalgam must have certain limitation, such as:
- Tin 29% : minimum limitation.
- Silver 65% : minimum limitation.
- Mercury 3% : minimum limitation.
- Copper 6% : minimum limitation.
- Zinc 2% : minimum limitation.
The function of those materials are as follow:
- Tin (Sn) is used for reducing the expansion during amalgam stiffening as well as the improvement in alloy amalgamation (the material for dental amalgam).
- Silver (Ag) is used for making the amalgam filling stronger. This material is easily mixed with mercury (Hg).
- Mercury (Hg) is used for giving counter reaction to alloy surface.
- Copper (Cu) is used for adding the strength of amalgam filling and increasing the strength of teeth filling edge.
- Zinc is used for reducing the oxidation because it is easy to react to oxygen so that it will not blend with oxygen.
14 Health Risk of Amalgam Filling:
Health Risks of Amalgam Fillings is very dangrous for your health, you must consider to avoid this ways for your teeth.
1. It is not Good Esthetically.
Esthetically, amalgam teeth filling does not make the patient look better because the color contrasts with the natural color of the teeth. Thus, it is not suggested for the front teeth.
2. Dark Spot.
Since it can be used for a long period, in several cases, the edge of the filling that immediately adjacent with the teeth can change the color of the teeth. Thus, around our teeth appears dark spot.
3. Triggering Allergy.
Some patients are allergic to amalgam. The biological traits of amalgam represents antigen with antibody reaction. The symptoms are itchy, rash, sneezing, hard breathing, swollen.
After amalgam teeth filling, the patients sometimes feel the fever. Their temperature is cold and hot at the same time. However,it won’t last long soon after the patients can adapt with the condition.
Until now the issue of amalgam toxicity that is related to mercury becomes a trending topic. Certain countries have banned the usage of amalgam for teeth filling.
6. Dangerous for Both Patients and Dentists.
The content of mercury in amalgam brings danger not only for patients but also for dentists.The dentists who do teeth filling using amalgam is risky for mercury exposure. Fertility disturbance is one of risks. Based on the research in USA, the dentists who do amalgam teeth filling is 7,6 higher to suffer from neurological problem. Furthermore, the nurse who helps the dentists have 63 percent of pregnancy chance. It is lower than the nurse who does not help the dentists to do amalgam teeth filling since their pregnancy chance is 95 percent.
7. Mercury Attacking Vital Organs.
World Health Organization puts mercury in the 10 most chemical substances list that is dangerous for our health. Even though in a small amount, the mercury exposure is dangerous for our nerve systems, lungs, skin, eyes, and immunity system.
8. Disturbing Our Blood Flows and Reproduction System.
Amalgam teeth filling causes several health problems, such as nerve systems, blood flow systems, and reproduction systems.
9. Disturbing Brain and Heart.
Amalgam teeth filling contains mercury. Mercury can disturb our brain and heart and almost all of important part in our body. Meanwhile, mercury is a nerve toxin that bounds selenium. Selenium is a substance that keeps as well as attacks cancer cells.
10. Bounding and Disabling Sulphur Hormone and Protein.
Almost every process in our body depends on sulphur hormone, enzyme, nerve tissues, and red blood cells. However, mercury bounds and disables the sulphur and protein.Thus, it influences the immunity system and cancer cells. As a result, we will suffer from autoimmune disease.
11. Causing Micro Leakage and Secondary Caries.
Amalgam filling often causes micro leakage and secondary caries. However, using cavity varnish that contains a natural resin solution or synthesis in evaporate solution, such as ether.
12. Causing Pains in the Teeth.
Amalgam filling causes pain in our teeth which eventually causes galvanized stream if it is combined with another metal. We can eliminate the pain by taking off the metal before wearing amalgam filling.
13. Contains Mercury.
Even though it is in a small amount and below healthy standard of a normal body of human, mercury still influences someone who is allergic to mercury.
14. Increasing the Risk of Cracks in Our Teeth.
If we eat hot food or hot drink, the risk of cracks in our teeth that is filled by amalgam is increasing.
Apart of its risk, amalgam filling provides benefits.
3 Health Benefits of Amalgam Filling:
- So far amalgam filling is the strongest if it is compared to another filling material so that the teeth can still be used for chewing.
- Amalgam filling lasts longer in our mouth (based onseveral research, it is reported that amalgam lasts for 15 years) as long as the filling procedures are fulfilled.
- The filling process is relatively easy and simple using “technique sensitive” if it is compared to resin composite. If we use resin composite, the strength of amalgam filling will be influenced only by single mistake.
Until now, filling the teeth using amalgam still becomes a controversy. However, there is no restriction of using amalgam. Dentists and their assistant who want to apply amalgam filling should meet the requirements.
13 Requirements that Dentists and Assistants Should Meet:
- Recognize the symptoms of mercury exposure in amalgam filling.
- Make sure the ventilation in the practicing room works perfectly well so that the cleaning process can be easily done.
- Be aware of amalgam filling waste and environmental issue.
- Should be able to recognize the mercury evaporation in the working place. For example, mercury leakage, do not keep the rest of the filling in a proper place, do not cover amalgam capsule tightly, and etc.
- Notice the staffs and the working environment in order to prevent them from mercury exposure.
- Avoid direct contact with amalgam and wear specific clothes in the working place.
- Wear amalgam inside the capsule and check the condition of amalgam or whether it has already based on ISO ISO 7488 specification.
- Throw away the waste contains mercury in a closed cover.
- Wear mask during the process of filling and taking off the amalgam.
- Not throw away the waste contains mercury in an open space or in the pile of the waste that is going to be burnt so that it won’t contaminate the environment.
- Before doing sterilization or heat disinfection, dentists and nurses must clean the equipment.
- Use the smooth head of amalgam in order to clean the rest of mercury easily.
- Keep the mercury in safe container that is free from heat.
Since dentists are the main actor in amalgam filling, they must obey certain cautions.
- Not put amalgam next to metal restoration.
- Not use amalgam to the patients who have serious kidney problem.
- Not use amalgam to the patients who have allergy history.
- Not put amalgam under metal crown restoration.
- Not use amalgam to children under six years old.
- Not use amalgam to pregnant women.
Amalgam has specific influence for pregnant women since it contains mercury that may bring bad effect both for the mother and the baby. Even though there is not yet a strong prove about it, pregnant women are suggested to avoid the usage of amalgam filling.
- the patients do not have enough money for filling their teeth with non-amalgam filling.
- the patients leave in a remote area where they can afford amalgam.
- the cavity is small or medium.
5 conditions that amalgam is not suitable for:
- the patients are allergic to mercury, bronze, silver, and copper.
- have a history of metal toxic.
- the patients are sensitive and fragile to certain medication.
- the cavity in their teeth is large.
- the patients have much money for filling their teeth with non-amalgam filling.
Amalgam filling is indeed have its positive and negative side effect. All parties involves, such as patients, dentists, and nurses must be aware of the cautions to avoid bad impact it might bring.