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What is a Filling?

Most people are very familiar with what a dental filling is.

Many of us have got fillings in our teeth, which are most commonly made from a material called dental amalgam. Dental amalgam is a metallic compound containing mercury and has been used for fillings for many decades. We are all used to the appearance of this in our teeth – dark, metallic fillings that can make our teeth appear grey

At Earlsgate Dental Practice, we have stopped placing amalgam fillings due to concerns raised over the mercury in amalgam. Though researchers have not found evidence of significant health problems related to the use of amalgam in fillings, we still will not use this material in our practice. We also find that patients prefer a tooth-coloured white (composite filling) for cosmetic reasons.

We offer removal of Amalgam/Mercury (silver) fillings at our practice to change them to our natural shaded composite (white) fillings.


With the advent of dental composites, our dental surgeons can now use a palette of subtle tooth shades to recreate the natural colour variations of your tooth. This creates a natural blend to fit in perfectly with its neighbours so you can smile and laugh with confidence.

Composites are bonded into your tooth using state-of-the-art adhesive technology which can actually help to support the remaining tooth structure. Many people now have dental composites used for their fillings and when one of your old, grey dental amalgams needs replacing, your dentist will use composite instead to restore the appearance of your tooth.

Glass ionomor is another filling material used at our practice, This tooth coloured filling material has the ability to bond to your tooth and can also release small amounts of fluoride once it has been placed.

This is useful for people who have a high risk of tooth decay. Glass ionomer is not usually used as a permanent filling as it wears too easily, but it is a really useful material to use for temporary fillings or to repair your tooth whilst you decide what permanent choice to have.