Alternatives To Amalgam Fillings


Gold has been used in dentistry longer than amalgam. It is extremely durable and has been shown to be relatively biocompatible. Since it is a metal alloy, the gold used in dentistry is still capable of creating galvanic currents. It is also relatively expensive and often not used because of more aesthetic tooth-coloured alternatives.


Porcelain restorations are the best dentistry has to offer. Not only are they highly aesthetic, but they are extremely durable. Porcelain offers properties similar to enamel, and it is biocompatible. They are made outside of your mouth in a dental laboratory so the shape of the restoration has a precise fit against the adjacent teeth. Porcelain restorations are more costly than white fillings; however, porcelain typically needs to be replaced less frequently than white fillings.

White Fillings

White fillings (also known as composite fillings) are an excellent aesthetic and biocompatible alternative to porcelain. Composite fillings are shaped directly in the mouth and cost less than porcelain because there are no laboratory costs. Although they are less durable than porcelain, the newer composites are showing wear characteristics that are as good if not better than amalgam. The bonding characteristics of composites can increase tooth strength up to 98% of its original pre-decayed state. The one problem with composite fillings is the possibility of post operative sensitivity to cold and moderate pressure. Although everyone responds differently, this sensitivity usually dissipates after a couple of weeks.

It is important to remember that no single material is “safe” (non-reactive) for everyone. The potential for reaction exists for any foreign material placed in the body. Biocompatibility testing provides information on any material sensitivities a patient may have. This simple test allows the dentist to select a dental material that is most compatible for each individual.

Please note that there are risks to replacing amalgam fillings with gold, porcelain, or composite.  Although these risks are not common, they include tooth fracture, infection requiring root canal or extraction, or prolonged tooth sensitivity to temperature or biting pressure.

More About Mercury Fillings

Disclaimer: Most dentists are not of the view that mercury amalgam, fluoride, or root canals are potentially harmful to your health.