Help!! I’ve swallowed my Amalgam filling!

Many patients find themselves in the unlikely situation that they have swallowed a filling. This is because fillings can sometimes fall out, and we have an innate reflex to swallow anything that gets in the mouth. There can be some negative side effects to swallowing your fillings, though, and Amalgam in particular is quite bad for you.

How did this happen?

Fillings are meant to stave off decay and further damage to the tooth. When your tooth experiences decay, the decayed bit will be removed and the hole that is left by the procedure filled with a filling, usually made of tooth coloured composite gradia (also known as ‘white fillings’). If the tooth experiences further decay, the filling will eventually begin to move about and then to come out altogether. If this happens during eating or drinking, you are likely to swallow the filling.

Your tooth can become damaged without decay and this can also cause you to swallow your fillings.


Amalgam is a metallic alloy that is made of silver, tin, and mercury. All three of these are poisonous and have absolutely nothing to do in your guts, but the component that makes it absolutely necessary to go and see a doctor is the mercury. This material is toxic in the extreme and causes problems not just of the digestive tract, but also of the nerves and the central nervous system. The material is also hazardous in other ways, and will be rejected by the body. To escape a really violent immunological reaction, you must go and see your dentist the day you swallow the filling, perhaps going to the emergency room is also an option.

White fillings

When you swallow white fillings, you are in less trouble, but you should still go and see a doctor. If this hunk of material ends up in the wrong place, you may be in a lot of pain very soon. It is very important to go to the emergency room when you swallow a white filling, although the hurry is less, as stomach acid does not corrode amalgam fillings as much as it does other organic materials, and there are no immediately poisonous materials in white composite fillings. They do contain BPA, however, which is bad for you, and which will start to leach out of it when in contact with acid for an extended period of time.

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