Dental Amalgam - Properites and Uses

Dental Amalgam – Properties and Uses

Dental Amalgam - Properties and Uses


By the end of these revision notes, you should:

What is dental amalgam?

Dental amalgam is a widely used restorative material in dentistry, with several pieces of evidence of use going back several hundreds of years. Amalgam fillings are produced through the mixing of a metal alloy (predominantly silver) with mercury. Conventional dental amalgams have the following components:

SilverAg40-70Increases strength
TinSn25-30Increases setting time, decreases strength
CopperCu2-6 (low copper)Increases strength, reduces corrosion and creep
ZincZn0-2Reduces oxidation of other elements

There are three different types of particle compositions in amalgam alloys:

  • Spherical 
  • Lathe-cut – irregular particles of a variety of sizes
  • Admixed – this is a mixture of both spherical and lathe-cut particles
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Setting reaction of dental amalgam

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Using dental amalgam for restorations

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High copper amalgam

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Mercury hygiene

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The dental amalgam debate

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