During routine checkups, many people ask us about replacing their old, silver fillings with “that tooth-colored stuff.” In this post, we wanted to explain a little history behind this issue and lay out some of the points that make it a complex decision.
Dentists used silver-colored metal fillings (called amalgam) for more than 100 years. They wanted to create a stronger tooth by replacing the decay with durable, rigid metals. Yet starting in the early 2000s, the mercury content in the metal came into question. Scores of studies have been performed, but the results never clearly indicated the mercury vapor emitted by the filling is detrimental to a person’s health.
Nevertheless, change was in the air. Now, more natural-looking and metal-free fillings are becoming the preferred approach, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. This filling of composite resin and porcelain materials is safe and predictable. It also more accurately reflects the properties of natural teeth, allowing bite stress to pass through the tooth while receiving biting force.
Here at Dr. Rittenberg and Associates, we pride ourselves in helping our patients achieve their happiest, healthiest smile. Where filling cavities is concerned, we use direct composite material for all new fillings as well as a replacement for amalgam fillings that have worn down and are causing issues. Plus, we agree this composite material, which is more durable than amalgam, makes teeth look good as new.
The Complicating Factors
We do not recommend replacing your silver fillings just based on cosmetic reasons. If you have silver fillings that are structurally sound, there is no reason to replace them. In fact, studies have shown that the highest amount of mercury exposure from silver fillings occurs when they are placed and when they are removed. This means the decision to replace these fillings should be made with the utmost care.
So If You’d Like to Replace Your Metal Fillings…
The health and happiness of our patients’ smiles is our chief concern. We want you to smile with the utmost confidence, but don’t want to take unnecessary risks. So if you have silver fillings and are worried about them, contact us and schedule an appointment. We’ll go through the options and find the right solution for you.