Amalgam has long been used as a restorative filling material for sealing gaps in teeth caused by cavities.  The majority of dental restorations completed today avoid the use of amalgam and instead take advantage of more aesthetic materials such as composite resin or porcelain. 

What is Amalgam?

Amalgam is a combination of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper, along with small amounts of other trace metals. It has been used as a restorative material for dental fillings, for many years and is known for its safety, durability, effectiveness and low cost.

In more recent times, materials such as composite resin and porcelain have taken over in popularity due to their natural aesthetic quality and ability to preserve more of the natural tooth. 

The Use of Amalgam and the ADA

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is the peak national body for dentists designed to support members to provide safe, high quality professional oral health care. On dental amalgam safety, the body advises dentists to continue using materials (including amalgam) that are proven to be safe and are included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

In recent times, amalgam has come under scrutiny for the risks associated with mercury vapour leaching into the body. While there is no scientific evidence to relate amalgam to mercury toxicity, its use and also its removal remains controversial.

Safe Removal of Amalgam

For patients looking to replace their amalgam fillings with composite resin or porcelain, our dentists follow a strict protocol to prevent the ingestion or inhalation of mercury vapour and particles during removal. At Kelmscott Dental, we use the following steps:

  • A sealed rubber material known as a rubber or dental dam is placed over the teeth to prevent any excess mercury being absorbed or ingested by the body;
  • High volume suction rapidly removes the amalgam particles as the amalgam filling is removed;
  • Water-cooled tungsten carbide drills are used which reduce the amount of heat and vapour produced
  • Mercury vapour is avoided by instead using a special technique of removing small amalgam chunks; and
  • A porcelain or composite resin restoration is then carefully placed.

Book a Consultation

If you have any concerns about existing amalgam fillings or would like more information on amalgam removal, contact us on 9495 7999 to organise an appointment or book online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is amalgam safe?

The World Health Organisation along with a number of international industry bodies has reviewed dental amalgam safety for a number of years and continues to support its use. In a statement regarding amalgam, WHO confirms:

“Amalgam restorations are safe and cost-effective… The risk of adverse side-effects is very low for all types of restorative materials, including amalgam and all resin-based materials.”

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) permits the continued use of dental amalgam for restorative treatments. Reports show that dentists have been been more aesthetic alternatives over the years for completing dental restorations.

Should I get my amalgam fillings replaced?

Amalgam dental restorations are considered safe, durable and cost-effective and can last a lifetime with excellent care and oral hygiene. 

If you have existing amalgam fillings and are thinking of removal for cosmetic reasons, speak to one of our dentists for all the information and costs on treatment. Like any dental treatment, there are risks associated with amalgam removal. We can explain the risks and benefits during your appointment so you can make a fully informed decision.

What are the alternative filing materials to amalgam?

Your dentist may recommend a composite resin filling to seal a small gap or a porcelain inlay or onlay to cover larger gap. It’ll also depend on the location of the cavity in the mouth and the extent of damage.


Book an implant consultation with Dr Norcross today!

CLICK HERE OR CALL (08) 9495 7999


Comprehensive Dental Assessment for $350 (valued at $516) includes:

  • Comprehensive examination
  • 2 check-up x-rays (if required)
  • Full mouth panoramic x-ray (if required)
  • Treatment planning


Contact us today to learn more about our dental services, to book an appointment or if you want to chat about your options.


(08) 9495 7999
2915 Albany Highway
Kelmscott WA 6111, Australia

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Kelmscott Dental is your local choice for your friendly, family dentist servicing the Kelmscott, Armadale and Gosnells areas as well as surrounding suburbs.


We offer a range of flexible payment options including Zip, Afterpay and SuperCare to help you access treatment sooner.

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Mon: 7:30am–5:30pm
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Wed: 7:30am–5:45pm
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