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High quality and gentle cavity repair in Thatcham

Choose from a range of filling options at Dental Partners Thatcham

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Routine dental fillings at Dental Partners Thatcham

Fillings are nothing to be afraid of nowadays – at Dental Partners Thatcham, the procedure is straightforward and stress-free. We offer a range of filling options for patients in Thatcham, from cost-effective amalgam (metal) fillings to cosmetic tooth-coloured fillings – which are virtually indiscernible from your natural teeth. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that you’ll be in experienced and caring hands at Dental Partners Thatcham.

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Amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings are a well-established and inexpensive way to repair damage to the tooth structure. They offer a highly effective way to restore the structure and functionality of a tooth, particularly the hardworking back teeth. This type of dental filling has been used to fill cavities for over 180 years, so it has improved oral health in millions of mouths. 

Having a filling is an extremely common procedure

Around 8 million cavities are treated with dental amalgam fillings each year in the UK and most of us, at some point in our lives, will have a cavity that needs attention. Amalgam fillings are the traditional choice, made from a combination of metals including silver, tin and copper, and elemental mercury. Although the inclusion of mercury as a filling material has attracted some controversy, a number of scientific studies have concluded that exposure to mercury in fillings is not linked to any adverse health effects. 

However, an alternative to these dental fillings would be used for those patients who have an allergy to any of the metals within the silver filling as well as children and for women who require treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding. 


Amalgam fillings have several advantages over those made from composite resins.

  • Extremely hard wearing and can last for around 15 years or even longer in a well-maintained mouth 
  • Quicker to place than dental fillings made from composite resins  
  • Less expensive than alternative restorative methods 

Treatment steps

Treating cavities with silver dental fillings is a well-established practice. The treatment is as follows. 

  • The area to be treated is numbed with a local anaesthetic and the decayed part of the tooth removed with special dental tools. 
  • A base or liner may be placed in the tooth to prevent sensitivity following the procedure. 
  • The amalgam is mixed and then placed in the tooth. It is tightly compacted to ensure every part of the cavity is filled. 
  • The amalgam is then shaped to resemble the tooth and, if necessary, it is smoothed down so it feels comfortable. 


If looked after properly, silver dental fillings are very durable and are particularly suitable for permanent teeth that are subjected to lots of wear and tear, such as those at the back of the mouth. More discreet, white composite fillings can be used to treat decayed teeth but these tooth coloured alternatives are usually more expensive and can be less durable.

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White dental fillings

Fed up with your shadowed smile? With the new generation of cosmetic tooth-coloured fillings, you could avoid amalgam fillings altogether for a smile that looks fresh and natural. At Dental Partners Thatcham, white composite fillings are one of the most cost-effective and popular cosmetic dental treatments around. As well as blending with the surrounding tooth colour, so as to be virtually unnoticeable when you speak or laugh, white composite fillings often require less drilling than silver amalgam fillings.

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What is amalgam filling?

Dental amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, are a well-established way to fill cavities and repair damage to the tooth structure. The filling material used is hard wearing and is made from elemental mercury, silver, tin and copper.

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Are old amalgam fillings dangerous?

No, they do not pose a serious health risk.

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Can you replace amalgam fillings with composite?

Some patients choose to replace their old silver dental fillings with those made from composite resins. This is entirely up to the patient, for whilst amalgam fillings are durable and inexpensive, some people prefer to opt for a white composite filling, which has the advantage of being tooth coloured.

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Can mercury leak from amalgam fillings?

Whilst small amounts of elemental mercury can leak as vapour, levels of mercury found in these dental fillings are not significant enough to lead to adverse health effects.

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Do amalgam fillings cause teeth to crack?

Any tooth which has had decay and a filling will have weak points which will make it more prone to cracks. Teeth that have had large amalgam fillings are more likely to crack than those with smaller fillings.  Therefore, it is important to maintain regular check-up appointments to monitor these teeth.

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Do amalgam fillings expand and contract?

The filling materials used can corrode over time causing the dental filling to expand and contract. You should maintain good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist to try to maintain your fillings and detect any problems at an early stage.

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How long does an amalgam filling take to set?

They set partially in 1 hour and are at full strength in about 24 hours.

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What colour is amalgam filling?

Sometimes known as silver fillings, these dental fillings are silver in colour.

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How long does a dental filling take?

It can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour to place a dental filling.

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Why do dental fillings fall out?

One of the most common reasons for fillings falling out is when tooth decay develops underneath the dental filling, causing the filling to be lost. Maintaining a good dental care routine can prevent this from happening and extend the life of your fillings.

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Is there gluten in dental fillings?

Composite material used for white dental fillings may contain non-dietary gluten, a common additive in plastic.

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What are white composite dental fillings made of?

The filling materials used for white composite dental fillings are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base.

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Can you eat after dental filling?

How long to wait before eating depends on which type of filling you opt for. Dental amalgam fillings can take up to 24 hours to harden, so we recommend waiting for this time period to pass before chewing on the side of the mouth where the filling is located.  White dental fillings harden immediately, however you may wish to wait at least two hours if you’re still numb from anaesthetic.

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What’s the difference between amalgam and white dental fillings?

Amalgam fillings are the more traditional silver fillings. If you don’t want your fillings to show inside your mouth, a white filling, made from a composite material that bonds to the natural tooth structure, is the best option. White fillings can be moulded and then bonded to your tooth, which can mean less drilling is required, and less of the tooth needs to be removed to place the filling.

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Will it hurt to get a dental filling?

No. Fillings are carried out under a local anaesthetic to numb the area so you won’t feel a thing during treatment, and white fillings require much less drilling than amalgam. If you are at all nervous about having an injection, do let us know so that we can gently help you through the procedure – we have a number of tried and tested techniques at our disposal and lots of experience helping nervous patients.

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What happens after a dental filling treatment?

Some patients experience extra sensitivity for up to three weeks after the treatment, which gradually subsides. For most, though, a filling treatment is very straightforward. The anaesthetic wears off after 1–3 hours and after that you should be able to return to normal activity. Children must be observed until the anaesthesia has completely worn off.

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How long will my white dental filling last?

White dental fillings have an average lifespan of around seven years, though this can be much longer if you follow a good oral hygiene routine at home.

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What are the advantages of white dental fillings over silver fillings?

White dental fillings have the major advantage of being tooth-coloured, so your filling closely matches the colour of your teeth. It’s also a more conservative option, as fewer parts of the tooth are removed when placing a white composite filling.

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