Amalgam (silver fillings)

First developed in the 1830s, amalgam - a mixture of mercury, tin, copper and silver – has stood the test of time as a reliable, hard-wearing material for fillings.  EU regulations prohibit their use in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 15 years and in baby teeth, but are otherwise the material of choice for back teeth, and if looked after, can last for over 40 years.

£65.20 (NHS Band 2)

Composite (white fillings)

Made of plasticine-like material that turns hard on the application of blue light, these offer superior appearance at the expense of durability.  However they are not suitable for all situations, as they require very dry conditions for effective placement and are not particularly durable, particularly on back teeth that need to withstand the high forces required for chewing food.  They are provided on the NHS for front teeth, but an additional charge will apply when requesting their use on back teeth.

Front teeth - £65.20 (NHS Band 2)

Back teeth - £50-100 depending on size and complexity

Glass Ionomer (white fillings)

Similar to composite fillings but requiring 24 hours to fully harden, this material does not demand the dry conditions needed for composite fillings, but is the least durable of all three materials, particularly on the biting surfaces of back teeth, however this material does have healing properties and be used on sensitive teeth or deep cavities in which placement of an alternative material risks causing a tooth to die. 

£65.20 (NHS Band 2)

Root canal treatment (also called ‘endodontics') is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (called the ‘pulp') is infected through decay or injury.  If untreated, infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth, leading to a painful abscess, in which the tooth may be tender when you bite. 

 

Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure, the aim of which is to remove all the infection from the root canal.  The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can't heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth.

 

Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.   However, because a ‘dead' tooth is more brittle, you may need to have a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

 

£65.20 (NHS Band 2)

Excluding the cost of a crown