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When Should You Replace Old Silver (Amalgam) Fillings?

Posted on: December 21st, 2022 | Categories: Dentistry, Fillings

Despite the fact that silver fillings contain mercury in them, the FDA has approved their use, since they recognize that the amount of mercury that is released into the body is not enough to cause serious harm. Luckily dental filling manufacturers recognized that no mercury is better than a small amount of mercury and the new standard of fillings these days is composite tooth-colored fillings. All of these old mercury fillings have been causing problems other than toxicity, which has been leading to many patients needing them replaced with new fillings.

It might be worth being proactive about replacing amalgam fillings with composite ones for a few reasons. A study found that amalgam fillings had a higher rate of causing the underlying tooth to crack. The mechanism that is assumed behind this phenomenon is the fact that composite fillings are better at adhering to the tooth than amalgam fillings. It’s hypothesized that the adhesion that comes with bonded fillings helps maintain tooth structure.

The poor bonding properties that amalgam fillings have also mean that bacteria, saliva, and food are more likely to leak underneath them. Since you can’t clean underneath your fillings this can lead to tooth decay underneath the fillings. This is what your dentist may refer to as a ‘leaky’ filling. Since composite fillings have better bonding properties, when done properly, they shouldn’t be as ‘leaky’.

If a leaky filling is not replaced and the decay underneath it treated, this may end up requiring a root canal. In fact, research has found a higher incidence of root canals in teeth treated with amalgam compared to composite fillings.

Finally, there is the cosmetic element. As cameras have become available in everyone’s pocket and social media made people more image conscious, people started caring more about the cosmetics of their teeth. People who were once okay with having dark fillings on their teeth visible when they laughed may no longer feel as comfortable. Luckily, these days composite fillings are becoming the rule rather than the exception, ensuring a solution that’s both cosmetic and functional.

If you live near Leominster and are looking to have your silver fillings replaced with new white fillings, we encourage you to contact Sterling Dental Group. The dentist at Sterling Dental Group will be glad to set up a consultation with you to discuss the benefits of replacing old amalgam fillings.

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