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Dental amalgam: Northern Ireland new SDR fees and codes

4 July 2018

From 1 July 2018, UK law states that dental amalgam should not be used in the treatment of deciduous teeth, in children under 15-years-old, and in pregnant or breastfeeding women, except when deemed strictly necessary by a dentist based on the specific medical needs of the patient. 

The move comes following an EU directive to reduce the release of mercury into the environment. The law has been passed on the basis of environmental concerns about pollution, and do not reflect any evidence-based concerns about adverse human health issues for patients who have dental amalgam filings. 


Northern Ireland: new SDR fees and codes

In Northern Ireland, Statement of Dental Remuneration (SDR) fees for the provision of non-amalgam fillings for children aged under-15 and in pregnant and breastfeeding women have been published, along with other documentation relating to changes to the use of dental amalgam – find out more on the Business Services Organisation website.


Five new codes and fees have been created in Section V (Conservative Treatment) of Determination I of the SDR. Five new parallel item codes with the same associated fees have also been inserted into Section XII (Occasional Treatment).


Four new SDR codes 'Composite, glass ionomer or resin fillings in permanent or retained deciduous teeth in patients under 15 years.'


The fee structure is as follows:

1405    1 surface                                                                                                        £20.00

1406    2 or more surfaces where the occlusal surface is involved                           £26.90  

1407    2 or more surfaces: mesi-occlusal or disto – occlusal surfaces                    £34.54

1408    3 or more surfaces: mesi-occlusal and disto-occlusal surfaces                    £44.31

For pregnant/nursing mothers the new SDR code is 1471 'Treatment of any surface of a permanent tooth using composite, glass ionomer, or resin material in pregnant or breastfeeding women'.

This will be paid £15.71 per filling and £23.29 maximum.


New guidance on complying with new dental amalgam regulations

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP), at the request of the four Chief Dental Officers, has published a new guidance document intended to assist practitioners to comply with this new regulation, alongside some useful resources and leaflets to use when discussing the issue with your patients.


Visit the 'Changes to the use of dental amalgam' section on the BSO website to access the revised SDR, correspondence from the CDO and other Department of Health information on amalgam 


Stop Press: 4 July 2018

BDA Northern Ireland is aware of difficulties being experienced with some software providers who have not made the necessary coding changes in advance of the 1 July implementation date.


The following information has been received from the BSO:


  • BSO communicated with all software providers on 17 April to advise them that they would be required to make changes to take account of amalgam, well in advance of the 1 July implementation date
  • 19 June - the BSO sent the actual new codes to software providers the day these were received from the Department of Health, following formal approval being received from the Permanent Secretary
  • If any dentist wishes to raise concerns on this matter, please contact Ryan Doyle at the BSO.

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