Category Archives: Fillings

Should I Replace All My Silver Fillings: Leaving The Fillings Alone

1. There is a likelihood of developing sensitivity when replacing silver fillings with white ones. Every time an older filling is removed and replaced with a newer one it becomes a bit larger and a little closer to the tooth nerves. Replacing older silver fillings with newer white ones can lead to teeth sensitivity. This may be temporary and last for several weeks or months but occasionally it may linger and not go away until additional treatment is rendered to the tooth.

2. You may end up requiring a root canal or crown. Replacing silver fillings with white ones may lead to sensitivity. But sometimes you will develop more than just sensitivity and you could end up with a toothache that doesn’t improve with time. It this occurs you will probably require a crown or a root canal to fix the painful tooth.

  • If the tooth is tender to chewing and bite pressure then the cause of the sensitivity is most likely the weakening of tooth structure due to being undermined by a large filling and you most likely will require a crown. This type of pain tends to be mild to moderate and is typically intermittent and aggravated upon biting or chewing on the tooth.
  • If you are in a lot of pain most likely the nerve was damaged during the removal and replacement of the silver filling and you will require a root canal as well as a crown to treat this. This type of pain tends to be severe and throbbing and is constant and lingering and you usually find yourself having to take pain killers for it.

As you can see a single unsuccessful filling replacement can cause some serious aggravation along with a hefty bill!

3. It is expensive and time consuming to replace all your silver fillings. Replacing a series of old fillings can cost quite a bit. The more experienced dentists will probably offer you more expensive options such as inlays or onlays over traditional white fillings to reduce the risks of pain and sensitivity and avoid unnecessary root canal treatments. This could make it very expensive to have all of your silver fillings replaced. And depending on the number of fillings that  need replacement, you will probably be looking at a good number of visits to have the entire treatment completed.

Helpful hint – Having dental insurance will not help much in these cases. Replacing silver fillings just to improve ones look is considered a cosmetic treatment rather than a medical necessity and will not be covered by your dental plan. However if there are a few fillings which have cracks or cavities on them, these will be covered. Generally speaking, if you are planning on replacing say a dozen silver fillings with white ones, two to four of them may qualify under the insurance guidelines but you will be held accountable for the remaining.

NEXT >> How to Decide?

Should I Replace All My Silver Fillings: Replacing All the Silver Fillings

Silver or White Filling? Deciding on Silver or White Fillings

10 Questions to help you decide between silver or white fillings:

Having read the pros and cons of silver and white fillings, it’s now time to decide which one to use for your back teeth. Here is a list of question to better help you decide whether to choose silver or white fillings to fix your back teeth. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:

  1. Are you extremely health conscious?
  2. Do you avoid toxic products at all costs? Even if something has not been definitively been proven to harm your health.
  3. Are you allergic to any metals?
  4. Do you like to take lots of pictures? Are you a self-proclaimed photographer or obsessed with taking selfies when showing your teeth?
  5. Do you expect your smile to look perfectly white when smiling or taking photographs?
  6. Is your smile line very wide? Basically you show your back teeth when smiling.
  7. Can you afford the extra upgrade fees?
  8. Are you okay with going back to the dentist to have your filling redone every ten years or so if needed?
  9. If the filling is for a back tooth, is it small or medium sized?
  10. Are you able to sit in the dental chair for half-an-hour to an hour while your dentist fills your tooth?

Good candidate for white fillings (Composite)

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then white fillings are a good choice for you.

Questions 1 through 6: Esthetic and health concerns

The main reason people prefer white fillings over silver fillings is the superior look as well as lack of mercury. Many people don’t even want to show silver and metal in their mouth, even if it is all the way in the back of their mouth. Others have concerns regarding mercury in fillings and feel that it can adversely impact their health. If either of these scenarios apply to you, then we highly recommend you come up with the extra copay and receive white fillings instead of silver ones.

Questions 7: Extra costs

White fillings usually cost more than silver ones do. But not that much more. Keep in mind that you’re going to have these fillings in your mouth for a very long time. Try not to let the financial part hold you back as we’re talking about something that is going to be there for a very long time. You can always talk to your dentist about doing your fillings in segments. This allows you to pay for them off over the course of several weeks or months. If you really want white fillings, you should be able to afford them. Most dentists nowadays will work with you to make this happen, so long as you ask them.

Question 8: Maintenance

White fillings require more frequent do overs than silver ones do. However, the newer generation of composites and resins are very durable and strong. If you take good care of your teeth and get your regular dental cleanings, a white filling may last you as long as a silver one after all.

Question 9: Cavity size

White fillings work very well for small to medium sized cavities on your back teeth. However, when it comes to very large fillings, they do show some limitations. Since your back teeth are used to chew up food particles, a lot of force is placed onto them. If you require a very large filling on a back tooth, white fillings are typically not a very good option. They aren’t strong enough to support the constant biting force exerted onto weaker posterior teeth. This can undermine your tooth structure and lead to tooth fracture. Very large white fillings often times tend to break, leak or trap food particles.

Silver fillings actually work better in these circumstances. They can handle larger fillings and have less problems dealing with your bite pressure. However, if you still insist on staying away from Amalgam, then you should look into other alternatives such as inlays or onlays instead.

Question 10: Cooperation Level

White fillings require a dry environment or they will fail. This means you must sit still and open up wide until your dentist finishes your work. If you can’t do this, then you can’t get white fillings and should go for silver ones instead. Here are some cases where lack of cooperation makes silver fillings the better treatment option:

Uncooperative children

Silver fillings are a better option than white fillings for non-cooperative children. Especially the ones a high cavity count. If your child can not sit still and keeps moving, it’s impossible to establish a dry working environment. Placing white fillings on an uncooperative pediatric patients is very difficult and the fillings are very likely to fail. Silver fillings perform much better than white ones in these circumstances. Also keep in mind that since baby teeth will be lost and replaced soon, these silver fillings are only going to be there on a temporarily basis. Of course, that is assuming the fillings were placed on baby teeth and not adult ones.

Physically or mentally handicapped adults

Silver fillings are also a good option for noncooperative adults, such as those with severe physical or mental disabilities. Severely autistic or mentally retarded adults may not be able to properly behave when receiving needs in the dental chair. This makes it harder to perform white fillings. On the other hand, physically handicapped adults may have a harder time maintaining adequate oral hygiene by themselves. Since silver fillings are more durable and resilient, it might just be better to go with silver fillings over white ones for them as well.

Good candidate for silver fillings (Amalgam)

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then you should consider sticking with silver fillings. There are still many circumstances where receiving silver fillings makes more sense than white ones.

Final Thought on silver or white fillings

Nowadays many dentists discourage placing silver fillings and charge reasonable upgrade fees to make receiving white fillings possible for everyone. We like white fillings for front and back teeth since they look better and are also a healthier option. At the end of the day, it’s up to you if you want silver or white fillings.

Technology associated with composites has come a long way in the last few decades. As a result the gap between successful outcome of a well-placed white and silver filling has substantially narrowed down. If you take good care of your teeth, a white filling should last you just as long as a silver one would. Choose the fillings that you prefer and has worked better for you in the past.

Advantages of silver fillings (Amalgam) over white fillings

Advantages of white fillings (Composite) over silver fillings

Silver or White Filling? Advantages of White Fillings (Composite)

Should I place silver or white fillings on my (back) teeth?

Having discussed the benefits of silver fillings, it’s now time to turn our attention to white fillings. White fillings are what dentists refer to as composites or resins. These are essentially a plastic compound which contain fillers that add strength to them. White fillings (composite) comes in a soft, semi-solid state which turns hard once placed onto your teeth and activated.

Placing white fillings (composite) is quite technique sensitive and time consuming. Prior to placing white fillings your dentist needs to add etch, to roughen teeth surfaces, as well as bond, to create an adhesive (glue) between the filling and your tooth. Once your tooth has been prepared, your dentist can now add the white filling to it.

White fillings come in a soft, semi-solid format which conforms to the shape of your tooth. They also come in various shades so your dentist can best match your tooth color. After your dentist places filling material onto your teeth, he or she will shine a blue light to make it become hard and solid. This blue light activates certain light initiated material within the composite or resin which makes it set and become hard.

Now that you are an expert on what white fillings are and how they are placed, lets take a look at it advantages:

Advantages of White Fillings (Composite) over Silver Fillings

White fillings look more natural

Naturally, white fillings hold an edge when it comes to looks and appearance. White filings come in a wide variety of shades and can be customized to match your exact teeth color. They come in a wide variety of white or yellowish shades, to match super bright, white teeth as well as darker, yellower teeth. Whenever needed, your dentist can accurately match your filling and tooth color to one another.

White fillings look more natural than silver ones when dealing with front teeth as one would expect. However, even when it comes to placing a filling on your back teeth, white fillings do give much better results. They look much nicer when you’re smiling or taking photographs. Too many silver fillings in the back of your mouth gives it a metal mouth appearance and many people dislike that.

Composite and resins are healthier than Amalgam

All silver fillings contain mercury as an ingredient, which is considered to be a toxin. Mercury is needed for silver fillings to set properly. On the other hand, white filling (composites and resins) don’t have any mercury.

Digesting mercury can adversely affect your health, but it’s still debatable whether having a subtle amount of mercury as part of tooth filling can actually affect your overall health or not.  Some dentists and patients feel that having any level of mercury can impact their overall health and well-being. As a result they avoid silver fillings at all costs. Others disagree, and believe that silver fillings are quite safe since you’re not actually ingesting the filling material itself. However, lots of people nowadays play it safe and simply avoid silver fillings because of the mercury. As a result most people consider white filling as the healthier and more organic option.

White fillings (Composite) sticks to your teeth but silvers don’t

Composite relies on a glue, known as bonding agent, to literally stick onto your tooth surfaces. On the other hand, silver fillings don’t have this bonding ability and only rely on retention created by grinding down teeth structures as a means of remaining in place. As a result white fillings work better when you need the filling to stick to teeth surfaces.

Should you have a small chip on a front tooth only a white filling is actually going to work. You need some type of a glue for the filling to adhere to the tooth and silver fillings don’t have this ability. The concept of adhesion, in addition to superior looks and esthetics, is the main reason front teeth and cosmetic filings are restored with white fillings over silver ones just about every single time.

NEXT >> Deciding on silver or white fillings?

Advantages of silver fillings (Amalgam) over white fillings