Almost everyone will recognise the silver coloured amalgam fillings traditionally used to successfully repair broken, decayed and damaged teeth. Fillings are one of the most common dental procedures undertaken each year and unfortunately there aren’t many of us who don’t have at least one!
Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years and are extremely hardwearing. Provided for free on the NHS, amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury and various other metals including silver, tin and copper. A filling enables your dentist to quickly and safely restore long-term function and appearance to a tooth.
When looked after properly some amalgam fillings can last for over 20 years making them a very cost-effective option for many people.
Alternative options to amalgam:
Gold fillings – are stronger and more durable than amalgam but are not available on the NHS so will need to be paid for.
White fillings – for a more aesthetic finish, tooth coloured (composite) fillings are available. Again, as these are considered a ‘cosmetic’ treatment they are not available on the NHS and must be paid for by the patient.
Mercury in amalgam fillings:
For many years there have been concerns over the safety of mercury in amalgam fillings, however, many scientific studies have shown that the minimal amount of mercury in fillings is safe. When combined with other metals, the chemical composition of mercury changes- making it harmless.
So far, there is no proof of a link to any health issues and amalgam.
However do bear in mind that:
- Amalgam fillings should be avoided by pregnant women.
- Amalgam can cause an allergic reaction in very rare cases.
If you have any concerns or questions please speak to your Dentist.