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an alloy of silver, tin, and mercury with small amounts of zinc and sometimes copper, used for restoring tooth surfaces affected by dental caries or trauma. See amalgam.
dental amalgamDentistry A filling material that contains up to 50% mercury, silver and other metals. See Alternative dentistry, Fluoridation, Gutta percha, Mercury.
A dental restorative material made by mixing approx. equal parts of elemental liquid mercury (43% to 54%) and an alloy powder (57% to 46%) composed of silver, tin, copper, and sometimes smaller amounts of zinc, palladium, or indium. Dental amalgam has been used for over 150 years. A fraction of the mercury in amalgam is absorbed by the body, and people with amalgam restorations in their teeth have higher concentrations of mercury in tissues (including the blood, urine, kidneys, and brain) than those without amalgam fillings. In 1993 the Public Health Service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a report acknowledging that scientific data are insufficient to conclude that amalgam fillings have compromised health. There is no evidence that removal of amalgam fillings has a beneficial effect on health. A dental amalgam is colloquially called a silver amalgam or a silver filling.
See also: amalgam