If your dentist has informed you that you need a filling for one of your teeth, you might wonder which filling material would be most suitable for its restoration. A few decades ago, dentists could only restore damaged teeth using silver amalgam fillings. Unfortunately, these restorations were not very popular among dental patients as they had a distinct, metallic appearance that affected one’s smile and facial aesthetics. Furthermore, concerns were also raised regarding the safety of mercury used in these fillings. 

But thanks to modern dentistry, several options are available to restore damaged teeth. If you want to learn about the different filling materials used for restoring crooked or chipped teeth, this blog is for you. So, read on to find out more. 

What Are The Alternatives To Mercury Fillings For Cavities?

In today’s world, patients want long-lasting fillings that precisely match the shade and colour of their natural teeth so that they become virtually indistinguishable. If someone does not want amalgam, the best alternative is tooth-coloured composite fillings. Unlike amalgam fillings, composite restorations can bond to the tooth structure. More importantly, your dentist can precisely adjust the shade of the fillings so that they blend in perfectly with the neighbouring natural teeth. 

Can You Still Get An Amalgam Filling From A Dentist?

While many countries have banned amalgam use and others discourage it, one can still get amalgam fillings in the UK if needed. For example, you can get your damaged teeth restored with silver amalgam fillings in London if you can find a dentist who still uses this filling material. 

What Are Some Of The Best Toxin-Free Dental Fillings?

As mentioned earlier, concerns have been raised about the safety of amalgam fillings as they contain liquid mercury. As a result, their use is declining globally. Unfortunately, many people believe that tooth-coloured composite fillings are also harmful due to a known toxin called Bisphenol-A (BPA). However, research has shown that the amount of BPA in composite fillings is too low to cause adverse effects. Besides, most modern composite fillings are BPA-free. Hence, composite fillings are the best toxin-free dental restorative material. 

Do Old Amalgam Dental Fillings Pose Any Health Risks?

Dentists are more concerned about the health effects of old and worn-out amalgam fillings than fresh ones. Why? Because there are higher chances of leakage of liquid mercury from damaged or broken fillings that can be ingested or inhaled. Either way, mercury is not good for health. That is why dental professionals recommend replacing old amalgam fillings with composite fillings.

What Do Dentists Use Instead Of Amalgam?

Today, many dentists worldwide use composite fillings as a replacement for silver amalgam fillings. The reason is simple; composite fillings have natural aesthetics and virtually blend in with natural teeth. More importantly, resin-based fillings do not have any adverse effects. That is why bonded restorations have become the most preferred filling material among dental patients. 

Why Did Dentists Stop Using Amalgam Fillings?

Today, you will find few dentists using amalgam fillings. There are several reasons why dentists have stopped using this filling material:

  • The difficulty of placement – the procedure for placing amalgam fillings is complicated and skill-demanding. Furthermore, fitting amalgam fillings requires extensive removal of the healthy tooth structure. That is why many dentists avoid using it. 
  • Unaesthetic – amalgam restorations have a distinct metallic appearance. Hence, the patients do not like them, especially when restoring the front teeth. 
  • Safety – amalgam fillings contain mercury which is known to cause adverse effects.

Can I Convert My Amalgam Fillings To Composite Fillings?

It is possible to get rid of amalgam fillings and get them replaced with composite restorations. The procedure is simple; your dentist will remove the amalgam filling using high-power suction. This ensures that the patient or the dental team does not inhale mercury vapour. Then, once the amalgam filling has been entirely removed, your dentist will place a composite restoration over it to restore the tooth’s structure and aesthetics. 

Are Dental Composite Fillings Stronger Than Amalgam?

Dental amalgam fillings are known to last for many decades. If looked after properly, you can expect your amalgam fillings to last a lifetime. But this does not mean that composite fillings are not strong; modern composite fillings are quite robust and can last for many years before they require repair or replacement. However, amalgam fillings are clearly stronger and more durable than composite fillings. That is why some dentists still use amalgam fillings for restoring back teeth when aesthetics is not the primary concern. 

If you have worn-out amalgam fillings that you wish to get removed, or if you’re not happy with the aesthetics of these fillings, you can contact Senova Dental. We offer the best general and specialist dental services in town at affordable rates. We also take pride in having the best dental team that is qualified and experienced to take care of your entire family’s dental health. So, book an appointment today.

Dr Jay Padayachy
Latest posts by Dr Jay Padayachy (see all)


GDC REGISTRATION NO. 64358 A graduate of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Dental school, Dr Padayachy has been a dentist at the award winning Senova Dental Studios in Watford since 1998 focusing on comprehensive restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Jay has previously been the president of The London Dental Fellowship. He has been a member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry since its inception and serves on the Credentialing committee. Jay has lectured widely on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry, dental photography and comprehensive care.

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