Dental Amalgams-Terminology

Dental Amalgam 

In this section, we shall discuss about dental amalgams used for restoration purpose in posterior teeth as per following format. The source of these notes, MCQs and explanation is Phillips’ Science of Dental Materials, 12th Ed.



Amalgam alloys


Clinical Manipulation of Amalgam for Restorations

Properties of Amalgam

Clinical Performance of Amalgam Restorations

Safety of Amalgam Fillings




Amalgam—It is an alloy that contains mercury. 

Amalgamation—It is the process of mixing liquid mercury with one or more metals or alloys to form an amalgam. 

Creep—It is the deformation that is produced by a stress. The creep process can cause an amalgam restoration to extend out of the cavity preparation. Therefore, the creep increases a restoration’s susceptibility to marginal breakdown. 

Delayed expansion—It is the slow expansion of a zinc-containing amalgam over a period of weeks to months. Delayed expansion is associated with the development of hydrogen gas, which is caused by the insertion of moisture in the plastic mass during its manipulation in a cavity preparation. 

Dental amalgam—It is an alloy that is formed by reacting mercury with silver, copper, and tin. Dental amalgam may also contain palladium, zinc, and other elements to improve handling characteristics and clinical performance. 

Dental amalgam alloy (alloy for dental amalgam)—It is an alloy of silver, copper, tin, and other elements that is manufactured in the form of powder particles or as a compressed pellet. 

Marginal breakdown—It is the gradual fracture of the margin of a dental amalgam filling. It leads to the formation of gaps between the amalgam and the tooth. 

Trituration—It is the mixing of amalgam alloy particles with mercury in a device called a triturator. The term is also used to describe the breaking of a solid to fine particles by grinding or friction. 


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