Statement of problem. The use of dental amalgam as a direct restorative material has been a subject of controversy for many years. The potential safety of amalgam has been questioned because of leakage of elements such as mercury, copper, tin, and silver. Purpose. This study evaluated the elemental leaching from Tytin dental amalgam placed in deionized water for 2 months. Both mercury vapor and elemental (silver, copper, tin, and mercury) analyses were performed. Material and methods. Two capsules of Tytin amalgam were triturated (one for the precipitate and liquid analysis, and the other for the mercury vapor analysis) and stored in a polypropylene tube with 10 mL deionized water for 60 days at room temperature. The amalgam pellet then was removed and rinsed with deionized water. The resulting liquid was separated from a precipitate, and 2 separate analyses were run: one on the liquid without any precipitate and another on the precipitate. Elemental analyses for copper (Cu), tin (Sn), mercury (Hg), and silver (Ag) were determined by inductively coupled plasma-emission spectroscopy with a Perkin-Elmer P2000 spectrometer. Mercury vapor analyses were performed daily for 60 days with a Jerome 431-X vapor analyzer. Results. The maximum amount of copper (80 μg), silver (2.6 μg), mercury (15 μg), and tin (550 μg) was found in the precipitate. The maximum amount of mercury vapor released was 67 μg/m3/d. Conclusion. Under the conditions of this in vitro study, there was a significant amount of elemental leaching and mercury vapor release from the Tytin amalgam over a 60-day period.
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