These fillings have been the work-horse of dentistry for more than a century, and when properly placed and cared for, can provide decades of service. They are durable, easy to use and highly resistant to wear. Amalgam fillings are a mixture of silver, zinc, copper and mercury and they are often used to fill the back teeth. Although they can be bonded into the tooth with modern dental adhesives, silver fillings are held into the tooth primarily by mechanical interlocking features cut into the tooth by the dentist.
The debate continues about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth. The American Medical Association and American Dental Association, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA and the World Health Organization, continue to endorse silver fillings as a valued and safe treatment option for treating dental cavities (tooth decay). Silver fillings are the most economical of all tooth restorations.