Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings in Bristol

Whiter teeth with tooth coloured, mercury-free fillings.

Having a dental filling is perhaps the most common dental procedure that most people will experience during their lifetime. Although some find them mildly unpleasant, in the vast majority of cases a filling can be carried out quickly and easily and will prevent further damage being caused by dental decay.

As well as replacing the part of the tooth that has become decayed though, a filling also needs to provide it with strength to allow its normal use when eating and chewing. This factor has led to the use of strong product called amalgam which is a mixture of metals including silver, tin, copper and, most controversially, mercury.

Because of its strength, mercury has been used for a very long time and, until quite recently, there simply has been no alternative that offered the strength and durability that it afforded. There have, however, been a number of pieces of research carried out which has caused doubt about the safety of its use in dental work.

Mercury Poisoning

Mercury is well known to be toxic in its liquid form and can be deadly. Once solidified though, much of this danger is avoided. There have been concerns though that the amalgam fillings that many of us have, leak ‘fumes’ over a period of time which find their way into our bloodstream. These vapours are thought to be a potential cause of damage to both the brain and the kidneys, especially in younger children.

Because of this, whilst mercury is not yet banned in the UK, some professional organisations agree that the use of mercury should be reduced over a period of time. In some countries, the use of amalgam in dentistry is already banned.

Amalgam Alternatives

At Beau Monde Dental Care of Bristol, we have used a popular alternative to amalgam fillings since we opened our practice in 2013. These fillings are a composite made from glass and ceramic particles in a bonding resin. Whilst these have been available for a while, it is only fairly recently that they have been produced with sufficient strength for use in the rear teeth.

Because of the makeup of the composite filling, not only do they provide a good level of strength but they can be made to easily match the shade of your own teeth. This means that, as well as being absolutely safe, they can also look great and have no possible side effects such as those found with amalgam fillings.

This same material can also be used in inlays and onlays if our professional Bristol dentist recommends this to be the better option.

Unlike amalgam too, which takes a while to fully set before becoming fully functional, white tooth coloured fillings harden very quickly and can be used to eat shortly after they have been placed. Because the material is initially more porous than amalgam though, it is best to avoid strongly coloured foods such as beetroot for an hour or so after it has been placed, to avoid staining.

If you live in the Bristol area and would like to have any future dental fillings completed using white teeth coloured fillings or are interested in avoiding the use of mercury, please call our Westbury Park dental practice on 0117 330 3495.