Mill Valley Dentist Discusses Disadvantages of Amalgam Restorations

Written by Dr. McConnell on Feb 23, 2021

Because our Mill Valley dental office is completely mercury-free, we offer a number of alternative restorative treatments to amalgam.  To quickly review, amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals. They contain some combination of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. If you are living with amalgam restorations, you may deal with:


It’s no surprise that a filling made of metals will look, will, metallic. Amalgam fillings are easy to spot on your tooth’s surface—they look gray, dark, and silvery.

Structural Risks

Amalgam restorations are heat-reactive, which means that they get bigger when exposed to warm substances, and smaller when exposed to cold. The fluctuation in filling size puts an enormous amount of strain on the surrounding natural tooth structure. This is why patients with amalgam fillings are at an increased risk of suffering from tooth fracture. 

Mercury Vapors

Many patients don’t want to live with a filling that contains mercury. Studies have shown that amalgam fillings can release mercury vapors. This is more likely to occur if your fillings are old, your grind or clench your teeth, or you chomp on hard foods like mints and candies.

Special Considerations

There are some patients for whom amalgam fillings are not generally recommended:

  • Pediatric patients
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • Patients who have shown adverse reactions to mercury
  • People with neurological problems
  • People who have poor kidney function

Thanks to advancements in modern dentistry, there is no need to settle for problematic, unattractive amalgam restorations. Our Mill Valley crown dentists can help you choose a restorative treatment that meets all of your needs and looks great.