This mercury amalgam is 'ditched'
- that is, its edges have curled up and a gap has formed around it. Metal fillings do not bond to tooth enamel and this common feature of older amalgams allows bacterial infiltration of the filling margins.
Rubber dam placement before tooth coloured fillings
Once a rubber dam has been fitted, the mercury filling can be removed easily and without risk of ingestion. Although primarily a safety measure, most patients find dental treatment far more pleasant and relaxed with the barrier in place.
After tooth coloured fillings
Although use of mercury amalgam is being phased out of use for environmental reasons, it is also unsightly and incongruous. I doubt that any patient would opt for a dark, metal filling out of choice - particularly as durable and aesthetic alternatives are now affordable.