What is a ‘filling?’

A dental filling is a form of treatment which is carried out to repair a damaged or decaying tooth. The ‘filling’ can be composed of any of the following materials:

Many of us will have had the traditional silver amalgam filling. However, some people are opting for the composite filling or ‘white filling’ for aesthetic reasons. Rather than showing harsh metal fillings the white fillings blend in well with your natural teeth and can improve your smile and self-confidence.

But, the composite or white filling costs more than the amalgam type.


The amalgam filling has come in for a bad press recently as it contains mercury along with other metals. Mercury is seen as a highly toxic substance that can cause side effects if released into the bloodstream. Teeth grinding can cause tiny particles of the filling (including mercury) to enter the bloodstream and this has been linked to a range of conditions such as headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure and poor concentration.

Many studies have been undertaken to see if this a health risk but as far as we know it is not conclusive. The argument still goes on as to whether these fillings are safe or pose a health risk.

It may be the case that no dental filling material is 100% safe and that all come with a tiny amount of risk.

If you are concerned about this then one option is to have your amalgam fillings replaced with white fillings. Talk to your dentist about this.

To learn more about this visit our amalgam fillings section.

General Dentistry Guide Index:

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