before and after amalgam fillings and composite fillings

Amalgam Fillings 101: A Comprehensive Overview

by | Sep 27, 2023

Hello there! I’m Dr. Michael Koumas, DDS PC. and my practice is located at 4 Hudson Valley Professional Plaza in Newburgh, NY 12550. Over the course of my dentistry career, I’ve been asked countless questions about amalgam fillings. Let’s dive right into it.

Introduction to Amalgam Fillings

Back in dental school, when I first laid hands on amalgam fillings, I was intrigued. Then I found out these “silver fillings” have been in use for over 150 years! A tried-and-tested solution passed down through generations. But what exactly are they made of?

amalgam fillings

Click here to read our Comprehensive Overview of Dental Fillings!

The Ingredients that Make Up Amalgam Fillings

Contrary to their nickname, silver fillings, amalgam fillings are a mix of several metals. The primary ones include silver, tin, copper, and yes, mercury. The combination of these metals creates a durable filling material. And then I wondered, how they are used?

The Art of Applying Amalgam Fillings in My Practice

Applying amalgam fillings is akin to creating a miniature masterpiece in a patient’s mouth. The process begins with cleaning the affected area, followed by layering the amalgam and ensuring it sets well to protect the tooth.

Why Dentists Often Recommend Amalgam Fillings

Their Proven Durability

Amalgam fillings are robust. I’ve seen patients return after decades with their amalgam fillings still intact.

Affordability for Many Patients

Budget is a concern for many. Amalgam fillings tend to be more affordable compared to some other materials, offering a cost-effective solution for tooth decay.

Their Resistance to Wear

The strength and resistance of amalgam fillings to daily wear and tear, from biting to grinding, is commendable.

Addressing Common Concerns with Amalgam Fillings

I’ve been asked, “Isn’t mercury harmful?” While mercury in its pure form can be harmful, when bound with other metals in amalgam fillings, it becomes stable and safe.

Aesthetic Considerations

While amalgam doesn’t offer the natural look of some other materials, its efficacy is hard to challenge. That said, for front teeth, I often discuss other aesthetic options with patients.

Allergic Reactions – Rare, But Noted

In my years of practice, allergic reactions to amalgam fillings have been rare. But it’s something I always check for before proceeding.

amalgam fillings

Click here to read our Comprehensive Overview of Dental Fillings!

Weighing Amalgam Against Other Filling Materials

My Take on Amalgam vs. Composite Resin

Both have their merits. While amalgam is durable and affordable, composite fillings offer a more natural appearance. In my practice, we have shifted from the use of amalgam fillings to composite fillings for a multitude of reasons.

Why Some Patients Choose Gold Over Amalgam

Gold fillings, though pricier, are often chosen for their unique aesthetic and durability.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are another aesthetic option, though they come with a different price point and durability level compared to amalgam.

My Concluding Thoughts on Amalgam Fillings

After years of practice, while we have transitioned away from amalgam fillings, I believe amalgam fillings have their rightful place in dentistry. While there are various materials available, the choice often comes down to the specific needs and preferences of the patient.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the mercury in amalgam fillings safe?

From my experience and based on extensive studies, the mercury in amalgam fillings, when combined with other metals, is safe for use in dental procedures.

Can I get an amalgam filling for my front tooth?

While technically possible, I often recommend other materials for aesthetic reasons.

How long do amalgam fillings last?

With proper care, they can last decades, but individual experiences might vary.

Are there any side effects of getting an amalgam filling?

Most patients tolerate amalgam well, but rare allergic reactions can occur.

Do I have other options apart from amalgam?

Absolutely! There’s composite resin, gold, ceramic, and more. We can discuss the best fit for your needs.

Click here to read our Comprehensive Overview of Dental Fillings!

Dr. Michael Koumas DDS PC standing next to his logo in one of his operatories signifying he is a dentist in newburgh ny who has been serving the Hudson Valley for over 23 years

Dr. Michael Koumas, DDS PC

General and Cosmetic Dentist in Newburgh, NY.
4 Hudson Valley Professional Plaza
Newburgh, NY 12550
(845) 562-1108


With over 23 years of serving the Newburgh community, we’ve earned a reputation for providing top-quality dental care in a comfortable and welcoming environment, helping our patients achieve optimal oral health..

Whether you and your family need routine cleanings, fillings, or more complex dental procedures, my team and I are committed to providing the best possible dental care to you and yours.  After all, you’re not just our patients, you’re part of our dental family.

If you need any dental care in Newburgh, NY don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule an appointment today by calling our office at (845) 562-1108 and experience the difference that Dr. Michael Koumas, DDS PC can make in your oral health.


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