Can Mercury Leak From Amalgam Fillings?

Can Mercury Leak From Amalgam Fillings?

A report indicates that some MRI scans may cause leakage.

A report out today has indicated that amalgam fillings may break down a little and leak mercury if the patient is undergoing an ultra high strength MRI scan.

It is worth noting that these are not currently widely in use and the same results have not been found in regular MRI scans. It is quite possible though that the ultra high ones will become more widely used and this report therefore warrants serious consideration.

The General Dental Council has stated that mercury is perfectly safe when used in amalgam fillings; however, there are now some obvious concerns when an ultra high MRI scan is used. There is no indication of the level of danger that any leakage may pose however, and further tests will inevitably follow.

Are there alternatives?

Although this particular type of scan is not commonly used, this report may give cause for consideration of the use of an alternative to mercury based dental fillings. At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we are able to offer these for use in most types of fillings. Instead of amalgam fillings, we offer natural coloured dental fillings that contain no mercury at all. These are generally made from glass particles bonded in a synthetic resin. The fact that they contain no mercury at all though, is not their only advantage.


The most obvious benefit of white fillings is that they can be made to match the colour of the patient’s natural tooth, rendering the filling almost invisible. Even where a dark amalgam filling has been used on a rear tooth, it can still be visible when we laugh or yawn.


One of the plus points of amalgam is its strength. For many years, any white fillings that were produced could match the strength of amalgam, often making them inefficient for even  smaller fillings. Now though, white fillings are produced which come very close in strength to amalgam. They are ideal for most fillings, although for larger rear teeth cavities, the use of inlays or onlays may be more suitable for the additional strength that they offer.

Fewer fillings

One thing that our Streatham patients might not be aware of is that amalgam shrinks over time. As it does this, it leaves tiny cracks between the filling and the natural tooth. Although not noticeable to the naked eye, these cracks can attract bacteria and further decay around the edges of fillings is not uncommon. Although there is no need to panic about your current fillings, and certainly not if you are due to have a regular MRI scan, it might be a good time to start thinking about using white dental fillings from now on, especially if you currently have  no fillings in your mouth at all.

For more information about cosmetic tooth coloured fillings, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 8674 2052.