Fillings and crowns available on NHS can be made from several different materials.
The crown is a type of cap that completely covers real teeth.
Dental crown in NHS can be:
- All metals (like gold or other alloys)
- porcelain blends with the metal
- All resins.
- All ceramics
- Stainless steel – used to preserve badly decayed baby teeth in children, or as a temporary measure on permanent teeth
Your dentist will offer you the type of crown they consider clinically necessary.
Fillings are used to repair the cavity on your teeth caused by decay. Your dentist will offer you the type of filling they consider clinically necessary.
The most common type of filling is dental amalgam, made of a different metal mixture. Dental amalgam fillings are often used on your back teeth as they're hard-wearing.
If you need a filling for one of your front teeth, your dentist may suggest a tooth-colored (white) filling.
Fillings available on the NHS can be made from:
- Amalgam (silver color) – metal mixture, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper
- Composite (tooth-colored) – Made of a mixture of resin and glass
- Glass ionomer (tooth-coloured) – powdered glass, which forms a chemical bond with your tooth and may release fluoride that helps to prevent further decay
There are a number of articles on the Internet about the toxic properties of amalgam. Although amalgam fillings can release low levels of mercury vapor, particularly when they are put in or removed, there is no evidence that exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings has any harmful effects on health.
Talk to your dentist if you have any concerns.