The most commonly used form of dental filling in Central London is amalgam. These are silver coloured fillings, which are normally used in the treatment of the rear teeth. They are made from mercury, silver, tin, copper and other trace metals. For aesthetic reasons the use of this type of filling has lost its popularity in recent years. However, it is still used in rear teeth fillings, as it is more durable than the white alternative.
The recent controversy with mercury-based fillings has lead to more and more people asking for an alternative. Although it is recognised that amalgam fillings can leak mercury into the mouth the amounts vary, as does the stance on the health risks it may present. Due to this controversy some countries such as Norway, Denmark and Sweden have banned the use of amalgam fillings altogether.
Many dentists in the UK still support the use of amalgam fillings. This is simply because they are easier to use, cheaper and last on average twice as long resin composite fillings. It would appear that the advantages versus disadvantages of amalgam fillings are close. Some patients would rather not take the risk and thus ask for resin composite fillings, while others do it simply for aesthetic reasons.
If you would rather not have silver filings, you will need to speak to your dentist to see what alternatives they can offer you. As well as resin composites there is the option of gold fillings, glass ionomers and porcelain, however the latter is much more costly and not available on the NHS. It is worth discussing the options thoroughly with the dentist and looking at the pros and cons of the options before making a final decision.