Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are provided under the NHS band 2 treatment, the type of filling is chosen at the dentists discretion and amalgam is usually placed in molar teeth or
cavities that are less visible. This would be discussed between yourself and the dentist
before any placement of a filling. Amalgam fillings consists of liquid mercury, silver,
copper and tin alloy particles that bind together to make an amalgam putty which then
sets to create a solid filling. These fillings are silver in appearance which is why they are
used in less visible teeth.

Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years and people still have them done every day during dental treatment however there are both advantages and disadvantage which are stated below.

Advantages of amalgam fillings

  • Strong and long lasting

  • Strong and long lasting

  • Less likely to break than some other fillings

Disadvantages of amalgam fillings

  • Appearance of the silver filling

  • More of the natural tooth needs to be removed in order to place an amalgam

  • More of the natural tooth needs to be removed in order to place an amalgam filling than other some fillings

  • Can sometimes cause extreme hot and cold sensitivity which should subside within a few weeks, if it does not then you would need to return to the dentist

  • In rare cases amalgam or other metals in the filling can cause an allergic reaction, if you notice a red or itchy skin rash after having the filling you would need to come back to have the filling replaced with a different material

  • Amalgam fillings should not be placed when a patient is pregnant as there is a potential risk to the fetus.

  • Controversy over the health effects of the mercury in amalgam fillings, they are very low risk to place in the mouth, they can potentially release harmful vapors when being removed but this is all aspirated out of your mouth by the dental nurse so you do not swallow or inhale it

If you are unsure about the risks and would like to discuss amalgam fillings and alternatives further with your dentist they will be happy to do so.