Dental Fillings And The ‘Mercury’ Question

Dental Fillings And The ‘Mercury’ Question

Natural looking white fillings available at Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford

The most commonly used material for a dental filling is amalgam.

This has been safely used for many years and is made from a combination of a metal alloy mixture and liquid mercury. It is widely accepted to be one of the strongest and longest lasting materials currently used for filling decayed teeth.

Whilst one undeniable downside to this type of filling is that it produces a dark grey material that is highly visible when a person smiles, the main ‘controversy’ surrounding its use is the fact that it contains mercury, a highly poisonous substance.

Is amalgam safe?

From time to time, amalgam comes under scrutiny in the media, usually relating the the possibility of danger from the mercury used. More bizarre stories come from claims that people pick up radio signals from them, most famously Doris Day’s claim to have helped capture Japanese spies through messages received through her teeth!! We can safely ignore this theory though, which has been disproved time and again. The possibility of danger from the mercury used in amalgam is worth looking at though, as our patient’s health is important to us at Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford, Essex.

The fact is that amalgam has been tried and rigorously tested and no evidence has been found for it to be of any danger to patients. Mercury use in amalgam is permitted by the MHRA ( Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and patients should suffer no ills from having them placed. However, it is only fair to point out that other countries have expressed more concern about the use of amalgam fillings and have begun to limit its use. Currently not so in the UK.

Other options

For those who may still have concerns about the use of this type of fillings, but more regularly, for those who wish not to have dark unnatural coloured fillings;  white tooth coloured fillings are now widely available that offer a level of strength almost comparable to amalgam fillings. These white coloured fillings are available at our Essex cosmetic dentists for patients who wish to have natural looking teeth. The material uses a mixture of resins and glass particles and can be made to match the colour of the natural part of the affected tooth, rendering the filling almost indistinguishable from the natural tooth.


One question that we are sometimes asked when a person elects to have the white filling, is whether it is worth having other old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with this type. The answer to this question really lies with what the patient wants. It is believed that there are no medical benefits to having this done, but aesthetically, it would certainly improve the appearance of the teeth. Much depends on how strongly the patient feels about this and the work that would be needed to remove the amalgam and replace with the white filling.

We are always happy to offer the choice of fillings to our patients and to answer any queries that you may have to help you to make an informed decision.

To arrange an appointment for a filling, or other procedure, please call our Chelmsford dental practice on 01245 211070.

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