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J Calif Dent Assoc. 2006 Mar;34(3):215-29.

Amalgam: Its history and perils.

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  • 1Division of Health Services Research, Department of Health Promotion and Policy, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, Dental School, University of Maryland, 21201, USA.


The current amalgam issue is not new. In the 1840s, there was even an "amalgam war" between the dentists who advocated the use of gold as a restorative material and those who used silver amalgam as a filling material. There were complaints of the ill effects of mercury in the amalgam as a health problem. The split on this issue threatened to divide dentistry into two camps: those who used amalgam and those who condemned it. The first national dental society in the United States, the American Society of Dental Surgeons, had to disband because of the controversy. There was even a "New Departure" movement in the 1880s to eliminate gold as a restorative material in badly broken down teeth, which could be more readily salvaged by the use of material that did not require the force of condensation needed to pack a gold foil, then considered the ultimate restorative material. However, amalgam has proven to be an excellent restorative material with few side effects--amalgam saves teeth.

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  • All is not so simple. [J Calif Dent Assoc. 2006]
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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