Amalgam fillings have been used around central London for a very long time now and like anything else that keeps going in the face of new technological advancements, the reason for their longevity is because they work damn well. These fillings are a made up of a mixture of metals- copper, silver tin and mercury and though the colour (grey) may be a little off-putting in the mouth, nay, completely unfashionable right now, amalgam fillings can last you for a very long time. They are also robust, taking all the grinding and chewing forces that you can throw at them and are the cheapest option on the market to fight tooth decay with. However, as well as the fashion stakes, there are possible health issues being raised about whether amalgam should be used as a filling at all. 50% of the alloy is mercury, a very toxic and very poisonous metal and this is what is raising the fears about its use: some countries have already banned amalgam fillings. Dentists are starting to turn towards white ceramic and resin based, even gold fillings to replace amalgam ones. Aside from the gold ones though, the others are very weak and cannot handle the stresses that go through the mouth daily, compared to amalgam. They also have a tendency to shrink on cooling that makes them prone to falling out; replacing amalgam fillings can also weaken the tooth. Like anything else, you should get all of the facts before ripping out your old fillings, or indeed having them in the first place. Voice your concerns to your dentist if you are worried about any topic to do with the health of your teeth and the treatments you have.