Our office no longer places amalgam fillings, the mixture of silver/mercury that has been used for over 100 years. The scientific evidence is that amalgam fillings are safe, but it’s a fact that you, the patients, prefer the tooth-colored fillings whenever possible. Tooth-colored fillings have been greatly improved in the past several years, and about 1997 we made the decision to leave amalgam. Amalgam will likely be phased out in this country within the next 10-15 years.
There are some insurance issues with the placement of tooth-colored (composite) fillings. They are somewhat more difficult to place than amalgam, so they take a little longer and are more expensive. Some insurance companies only reimburse for an amalgam fee when a composite is placed, which leaves a higher patient co-payment. There really isn’t any way around this, but as more and more offices quit doing amalgam, the insurance companies will slowly follow—dragging their heels the whole way, unfortunately. A similar situation exists with payment for implants; in the past few years, the insurance companies have finally started covering them.