What’s In an Amalgam Filling?

What’s In an Amalgam Filling?

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Contents of Silver Amalgam Fillings
©Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wondered what an amalgam filling looks like inside?

Dental Amalgam CapsuleMany people question how a metal can be soft enough to be shaped into a tooth yet hard enough to endure the force of chewing and other abuse that occurs during its ten or more years in your mouth.

Other people are curious about the amount of mercury contained in an amalgam filling…so let’s get some answers!

I opened up an amalgam capsule (pictured to the left) and took a picture of what I found inside:

Amalgam Filling Contents

Aside from the capsule body, I found three main components:

1 – Mercury Disc – Amalgam fillings are made up of about 50% mercury, and 50% metal powder.  The mercury is sealed away in a plastic disc so that it doesn’t evaporate and contaminate the environment.  The mercury disc breaks open when the amalgam capsule gets mixed.

2 – Metal Powder – The metal powder is made up of varying metals.  In the Dispersalloy brand of dental amalgam (a widely used brand), the metal powder contains about:

  • 69% Silver
  • 18% Tin
  • 12% Copper and
  • 1% Zinc

3 – Pestle – The pestle is simply a plastic rod.  When the amalgam is mixed and vibrated quickly back and forth, the pestle breaks open the sealed mercury disc and helps to thoroughly mix the mercury with the metal powder to form a soft metallic mixture.  While the amalgam is still soft, the dentist uses it to fill your cavities.  The amalgam begins to harden after a few minutes and eventually hardens into a filling that can withstand lots of force.

Conclusion

As you can see, the formulation of amalgam is pretty simple: mercury and metal powder.  Fortunately, modern amalgam capsules come pre-measured so that dentists don’t have to worry about mixing up mercury with other metals by hand.

Do you have any questions about the contents of amalgam fillings?  I’d love to hear your thoughts int he comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

16 COMMENTS

  1. I suffer from m/s which has caused nerve damage to my right eye colour vision plus loss of precise control of my lower limbs.

    Its often been said that the mercury in fillings is a major cause of M/S.

    I saw 2 dentists on TV who said that this substance causes many disorders – neurological plus depressive symptoms. They also said that it causes damage to Dentists and that all removal of these fillings should be accompanied by increased suction, cooling and extraction to avoid the mercury being ingested via skin and breathing of vapours that are produced.

    They also useoxygen masks during this process and regard mercury as dangerous as radioactivity but did not specify the type of radio activity or its equivalent levels.

    I would appreciateyour comments please.

    Thanks

    Dave Parry

  2. Well I’ll be a son of a gun! as the Test Tube Baby said. Informative, interesting. Thanks. Dave

    My own questions to a Dental Org. ref all this regarding removal in safety of amalgam fillings and replacement with more inert and safer substances, led to a non committal negative and dismissive response. I get the impression that many dentists are either in denial of this situation or think the risk exaggerated.

    Perhaps time will tell who is correct but meanwhile damage is being caused to patients in my humble and non professional opinion.

    Dave Parry

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  5. I see not much response has been generated by my negative posts or the excellent stuff on the contents of the amalgam – 50% being mercury! – Makes me glad I have lost a third of my back teeth!!! If I had not trusted my school dentist who filled most of them – to pay for his mortgage not because they were rotten – I may still have them. Conspiracy Theory? At my great age I am a cynic. 72 in Jan 2014 I remain a doubter in almost everything – Sport is being exposed as almost, if not totally, corrupt; so why would dentists be immune to temptation. I am an ex cop that never took a bribe and am still amazed at how many of my colleagues are the same – UK Cops I am talking about but my guess is that most US Cops are the same – Straight like me.

    Anyway dear readers – do not trust the dentists! Notice how they always find something needs to be fixed at a cost to you during your regular checks. I never go there now unless ‘I’ discover a problem.

    You have been warned. Check out Oil Pulling on the net to see how India keeps its teeth. Ayurvedic medicine has a lot to offer and not just for teeth.

  6. I too suffered from health problems including ringing in my ears, sinus pain, vertigo and migraine headaches just to name a few. My symptoms grew worse with each passing year. Testing showed I had abnormally high levels of mercury in my system. I recently had my silver filings and my debilitating symptoms are beginning to subside. I also tested positive to a genetic abnormality by the name of MTHFR. This is a pretty common genetic and hereditary mutation. One of the side effects of this mututation is a limited ability to process and remove toxins from the body. The result is abnormally high levels of mercury, aluminum, etc. I urge everyone with mercury filings to be tested for the MTHFR gene mututation and if positive, have all amalgam filings removed. Most of mainstream medicine and NIH does not recognize this connection, so instead of asking your current doctor, I would google MTHFR to locate practioners in your city and state.
    It’s extremely disheartening to know that the mainstream medical community refuses to accept the connection between the two. After all, what would it do to the suppliers of this cheap solution? Unbelievable to me how antiquated “modern” medicine truly is, and not the fault of Tom – he is just practicing what he was taught in dental school.

  7. Please help me with advice. My fillings were put in on Mothers Day 2012 and sensitivity is terribly harsh. The filings have fell out on my right side and my tooth cracked in half and is getting black and foul smelling. I was told by the VA dental clinic in Loma Linda CA that it is normal for fillings to fall out after 3 years. The pain and stench is unbearable.

    • OH MY GOD> DO it immediately. People of your ethnicity are very susceptible to mercury poisoning.

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