Dental amalgam (often called ‘silver fillings’) is an inexpensive and highly durable material commonly used for filling teeth, especially those that are subject to a lot of wear and tear such as molars. Modern dental amalgam is a metal alloy that is generally made up of mercury, silver and tin, with small amounts of copper and zinc. It is pliable when first mixed and can be moulded into a tooth cavity, reducing the amount of natural tooth that needs to be removed in order to fit the filling. The current advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia is that, for most people, these low levels of mercury exposure will not affect their general health. There is also no clinical evidence to support any connection between amalgam fillings and cancer.