History of dental amalgam – Amalgam is one of the most basic substances utilized in dentistry. It is a composite of mercury and alloys including silver, tin, nickel, and copper. Mercury is a hazardous substance that must be handled with caution.
Amalgam was first introduced by M. Traveau in the history of dental amalgam in mid-l820s. He demonstrated the use of this silver-based paste as a tooth-filling material. However, due to mechanical problems with the necessary setting time and ultimate expansion, it did not gain much popularity among dentists.
The use of amalgam in the United States is first noted in the early 1830s. The Crawcour brothers introduced amalgam to New York City in 1833, calling it a “royal mineral succedaneum.” This title was used since amalgam was hailed as a successor to gold, which was used almost exclusively at that time.
Unfortunately, the Crawcours were unethical and unscrupulous. As dentists, they tended to do things that were considered malpractice in the history of dental amalgam. A controversy developed regarding their methods that lingered even after they had vacated the dental scene.
The “Amalgam War” became so heated that the use of amalgam was considered grounds for malpractice in history of dental amalgam. It was not until much later, after amalgam was significantly improved, that its use became acceptable.