Silver fillings are made of a material called amalgam, which is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. Amalgam fillings are very hardwearing which is why they are often put into the back chewing teeth.
There are often stories in the newspapers about the safety of amalgam or silver fillings, linking them to health problems such as migraines and multiple sclerosis. There is little evidence to support these stories and the Department of Health and its experts advise dentists and the public that amalgam fillings are perfectly safe. If you are still concerned, your dentist can use an alternative material that doesn't contain mercury.
A very small number of people may find that they are sensitive to the ingredients which make up amalgam fillings. For this reason, amalgam fillings will not be given to them and existing fillings may be removed. This is very rare, but if you are concerned, ask your doctor to carry out a mercury sensitivity test.
If you find ulcerated patches on the skin or mouth, you may be allergic or sensitive to the mercury in your amalgam fillings. In this case, visit your doctor who will test you for mercury allergy. If you test positive, your dentist may suggest that you have your fillings replaced with a non-amalgam variety.
An amalgam filling takes a little time to set after it has been put in - don't eat anything for 2 hours and avoid eating on the new filling for 24 hours.