Tooth coloured fillings are the modern and the best way to restore teeth that require fillings at the back and front of the mouth.In the past almost all fillings on back teeth particularly were done with amalgam .Dental amalgam was and is a very strong and durable material and could restore function in a tooth for many years. However there are several drawbacks with dental amalgam.
Firstly they are silver in colour and obviously look nothing like real teeth.Also they contain mercury which is a toxic material.Mercury vapour is released when chewing on amalgam and this is inhaled and absorbed into the body.Although the levels are very low and in the vast majority of cases causes no significant harm there is at least a theoretical risk of health issues with amalgam.
Also amalgams do not chemically bond onto the tooth unlike tooth coloured fillings and so are not as good at filling teeth when a lot of tooth substance has been lost.
So tooth coloured fillings are safer ,just as strong and much better in appearance than amalgam. They are now used routinely on back teeth and have excellent long term durability and patients much prefer how they look-no more metal showing when smiling.
Riverside Dental Practice always offers our patients tooth coloured fillings as an alternative to amalgams .They are available on the NHS on back teeth for children up to 15 and privately thereafter.
Many patients ask should they have all their amalgams removed and replaced with tooth coloured fillings?Well that is a good question and there are pros and cons on both sides.Generally if fillings are sound and not giving any pain then we usually advise to leave alone unless they are very unsightly.This is because the very act of removing an amalgam can cause some short term sensitivity especially if the filling is deep.
However if amalgams fail then that is the time to replace with tooth coloured fillings.They can also be a less expensive alternative to crowns.