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Most people recognize dental amalgams as “silver fillings”. Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver alloy, tin, and copper. Mercury makes up about 45-50% of the compound. Mercury is used to bind the metals to provide a strong, hard, durable filling. After years of research, mercury has been found to be the only element that will bind these metals in such a way that can be easily manipulated into a tooth cavity. Mercury in dental amalgam is NOT poisonous. When the mercury is combined with other materials in the amalgam, its chemical nature changes, essentially making it harmless. The amount released in the mouth under the pressure of chewing and grinding is extremely small and no cause for alarm. Ongoing scientific studies conducted over the past 100 years continue to prove that amalgam is not harmful. Dental amalgam has withstood the test of time which is why it is the material of choice. Dentists use dental amalgams because it’s easier to work with than other alternatives. Some patients prefer dental amalgam to other alternatives because of its safety, cost-effectiveness, and ability to be placed in the tooth cavity quickly.