Mercury Free Dentistry in Edinburgh

At Stafford Street Dental Care we ditched using dental amalgam for nearly all fillings in 2006, around the time we moved to Stafford Street.

The Minimata agreement to get rid of the use of dental amalgam in the whole world by the year 2030 was signed in 2013. At that time we got rid of every last capsule of amalgam from the practice so became completely mercury free.

Origins Of Dental Amalgam
Dental amalgam, a mixture of mercury and silver, was invented around 200 years ago, and began to be used to fill decayed cavities in teeth soon after.

The properties of dental amalgam improved over the years and many people still have old amalgam fillings which continue to work very well.

Amalgam wasn’t bonded to the teeth as all modern restorations are, it was just squished into the cavity, which was prepared with undercuts to help hold the amalgam in mechanically.

But who exactly wants leaking metal products in their teeth?

mercury free dentistry edinburgh
Mercury Concerns

The concern over the leakage of mercury from amalgam has gone on almost since it was first invented. As it is a combination of metals in the mouth – an extremely moist environment- an amalgam restoration corrodes round the edges. These corrosion products gather at the interface between the tooth and the filling, this helps to kill bacteria, and prevent further decay.

Is It Safe To Have Mercury In Your Mouth?

Dentists are among those who have been most exposed to mercury as they work with it every day. Studies have been done on dental professionals to see if they were at increased risk of- kidney disease, emotional instability, erethrism (Mad Hatter disease, a neurological condition),pulmonary dysfunction, or other characteristics of occupational mercury exposure- but they “provided insufficient information to enable definitive conclusions.” Thank goodness for that!

I think we would all agree that we would prefer to stay away from even the possibility of any of these or any other toxic effects.

Our opinion is that mercury in an old amalgam restoration is really very stable – so we don’t normally advise replacement of amalgam restorations unless there is a problem. When the amalgam restoration is removed, this is when the mercury is released.

For this reason, when removing old amalgam fillings we always work with dental dam, which completely separates the tooth from the rest of the mouth, as well as high volume suction to remove all residues.

Better Restorations

We love to provide composite white fillings but the most chemically stable restoration materials are porcelain or gold. For larger restorations, especially when a large corner of the tooth is missing, we would prefer to provide a fully bonded Cerec porcelain partial crown as opposed to a gigantic composite filling. This is the closest we can get to putting the tooth back to what it was when it first grew in.

Amalgam to Composite Filling Replacement by Stafford St Dental in Edinburgh
Even Better

Our preventive approach aims to stop our patients needing any fillings in the first place. If you don’t have to get the first tiny filling, as you’ve brushed well and your teeth have been fissure sealed by our hygiene therapist, you won’t end up with huge fillings later.

Very much better than even the best restorative option!

If you would like to book an appointment to visit our dentists in Edinburgh, please call 0131 225 7576.


The image of mercury on this blog is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Photograph by Wilco Oelen


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.