There are a variety of filling materials available today. The challenge is to determine the best and most appropriate material for the procedure and to recognize the weaknesses and strengths of the materials. There is no one material that will fit all needs.
One of the most common and easily recognized fillings is the silver or amalgam filling. These fillings have been used successfully for decades. They are durable, predicable, and cost effective. The drawback is that they are not attractive when they can be seen in a smile. To date, there is no scientific evidence that there is any health risk related to silver fillings. A study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, (February, 2008) studied a group of 507 children age 8-12 beginning in 1997. The study followed the children based on using silver fillings vs. white fillings and evaluated the neurological impact on the developing children. The conclusion of the study was: “This study fails to show that exposure to mercury in childhood as a consequence of treatment with silver/amalgam restorations is associated with a higher frequency of NSS’s (neurological soft signs) in childhood and adolescence”. The study further states: “This study results show clearly that children exposed to elemental mercury from dental amalgam, do not differ from similar children without amalgam exposure in terms of gross and fine neurological development”.