Amalgams were the first standard material used to create what are commonly called "fillings." Mercury amalgams have been used in dentistry and are made by mixing an equal measure of mercury with another substance such as silver, tin, copper and other metals. Dentists have preferred these amalagams as they are cheap to make, strong and durable.

In recent years, there has been controversy regarding the use of mercury in these fillings. Today, amalgrams are made with copper and are mixed cold, resulting in a stronger filling. With the advent of Inlays (also called Porcelain Inlays), patients now have the option of having a natural, tooth colored filling. As a result, many cosmetic dentists are hoping the unsightly alloy fillings or amalgrams will become obsolete.
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