One of the biggest controversies in dentistry is about the use of amalgam.
Some dentists think it’s a great material for filling cavities, but others worry about its possible toxicity.
“I haven’t placed an amalgam in over 25 years,” said a Kentucky dentist.
“I live in rural America, and crowns are not financially feasible for many; so I shovel a lot of alloy!” said a Wisconsin dentist.
Jim and Julie report on a survey asking dentists how frequently they place amalgams.
Our past surveys at The Wealthy Dentist have consistently shown dentists split down the middle on the topic of placing amalgam.
Some things never change. Doctors are still split on the issue. In this survey, 58% of dentist respondents indicated that they still place amalgam restorations, while 42% do not.
How frequently are dentists placing amalgams?
Well, 27% said they place multiple amalgams per day, another 19% do at least one a week, and 12% only do a handful each year.
“I stopped using amalgam about 2 years ago. I do NOT believe it is a health risk, but I believe that composites have improved to the point that they are very serviceable – and of course look much better!” said a New York dentist.
“Amalgam still has a place in dentistry,” declared an Illinois dentist.
“According to some reports 1/3 of the restorations placed in this country are amalgams.”
“We have better materials. We don’t need to use a restorative that was developed in the 1890’s just because it’s easier and cheaper,” said a general dentist. “If it were introduced as a new material today it would never make it or even be allowed. It just doesn’t make sense to use it. Yes, they mostly last ‘forever,’ but at the expense of the tooth.”
“Any dentist still placing silver amalgams is an idiot. It has nothing to do with the material, but the public’s perception of its dangers,” said a general dentist.
That’s a valuable perspective. We could argue the science all day long – but what about the dental marketing aspects?
Just the language you use affects how your patients will react to amalgam restorations. Most dentists call them “silver fillings,” but I know of at least one doctor who refers to them as “mercury-containing fillings.”
It’s not just a matter of the dentist’s personal preference. It’s also about the patient’s preference, cosmetics and finances.