Category Archives: Fillings

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

You may have heard bad things about silver fillings (Amalgams) due to their mercury content. All silver fillings contain some levels of mercury which is considered to be a toxin. Now it is debatable whether the mercury within dental fillings is actually harmful to your overall health or not considering that you don’t actually ingesting it. Some dentists still use lots of silver fillings in their practice while others claim to have Amalgam free offices and have stopped using them altogether. So if you already have a whole bunch of silver fillings then what is the best thing to do? Is it worth having them all replaced or should you consider just leaving them alone until they are actually due replacement and then worry about it?

Pros of Replacing All the Silver Fillings

1. Eliminating any potential risks associated with mercury. It has not been proven whether the mercury contained in the silver fillings is hazardous to your overall health or not. Afterall many people have dozens of silver fillings in their mouth and do just fine. But mercury itself is indeed a heavy metal toxin and its ingestion will produce Mercury toxicity which has many dangerous symptoms.

  • Impairment of speech, vision or hearing
  • Disturbed sensation
  • Lack of coordination
  • In very high doses merucry ingestion can even lead to death

If you have concerns over the safety of mercury or if you are convinced that silver fillings are adversely affecting your health, then consider talking to your dentist about having them replaced.

2. A better looking smile. Having lots of large silver fillings can give you a bit of a metal-mouth appearance even if they are located towards the back of your mouth. If you like taking lots of pictures then these silver fillings could start showing up when you when are smiling. While it is true that silver fillings are used primarily for treating the back teeth which are less visible, they can still show quite a bit, particularly when you have lots of them or when they are larger fillings.

3. It may be time to replace them after all. Many dentists nowadays are starting to move away from using silver fillings and offering Amalgam free dental offices as a result of the expansion of cosmetic dentistry along with the potential health hazards associated with silver fillings. If you are older and have lots of silver fillings in your mouth then chances are that they were placed decades ago when you were a teenager. There is a good possibility that a lot if these older silver fillings may be breaking or cracking as a result of their age and most of them might already require replacement. So it might not be a bad idea to consider having them all replaced at this point to get it over and done with.

NEXT >> Leaving The Fillings Alone

Should I Replace All My Silver Fillings: How to Decide?

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

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

You might have faced this dilemma at the dentist before: Should you place a traditional silver filling (Amalgam) or a more modern white filling on your back teeth? Many dentist nowadays favor white fillings due to their superior looks and perceived health benefits. In fact there are lots of Amalgam free dental offices where dentists refuse to perform silver fillings, siting health concerns as their main reason for this decision.  However there are still countless dentists all over the world that rely on silver fillings to fix their patient’s teeth.

So which is the better option for you? Is it worth going for cosmetic white fillings considering that there often times are additional upgrade fees? Or are silver filling good enough or possibly even the better choice for your back teeth? Lets start by discussing silver fillings (Amalgam) first since after all they’ve been around for much longer than white fillings have:

Advantages of Silver Fillings (Amalgam) over white fillings

Amalgam lasts longer than composite or resin

Silver fillings (Amalgam) tend to last longer than their white counterparts. Basically, there is are less do overs if you were to get silver fillings instead of white ones. Silver fillings have a lesser chance of fracturing or leaking as compared to white fillings.

A well placed silver filling could potentially last you decades or even a lifetime. An average white filling normally require repairs or do overs after every ten years or so. The life expectancy of a silver filling is about twice as long as a white one. Although this gap has closed in recent years as the quality of white fillings has continued to improve.

Silver fillings are easier to perform

Silver fillings are a lot less technique sensitive than white ones are. To successfully place white fillings, the working area needs to be completely dry. Otherwise your fillings won’t last very long and they could fall off or develop sensitivity issues. On the other hand, silver fillings (Amalgam) is quite resilient to moisture contamination. They hold up well even if there is some blood or saliva seeping in and contaminating the working area. You don’t have to worry as much about tooth sensitivity or falling out with silver fillings.

Silver fillings cost less than white ones do

Silver fillings (Amalgam) are generally considered the base option by dentists and insurance companies for your back teeth. As a result they are almost always less expensive. White fillings may be considered an upgrade option on your back teeth, that is the molars and bicuspids. White fillings typically cost 50% to 100% or even more than silver ones do.

There are several reasons white fillings are more expensive than silver ones. First of all, the material for performing white fillings are much more expensive than Amalgam. Bond and resin is typically costly. Plus your dentist needs to have a whole range of different shades and polishing equipments to cater to your increased expectations as a result of having to pay more.

Additionally, performing white fillings typically requires more time and attention. Most dentists take about twice as long to do white fillings over silver ones. This accounts for additional charge, which is the other reason why white fillings cost so much more. This is also why dentists who accept government dental insurances or work in impoverished neighborhoods are more likely to perform silver fillings. It brings down their overhead and allows them to place more successful fillings than if they were to place white ones.

NEXT >> Advantages of white fillings (Composite) over silver fillings

Deciding on silver or white fillings?

Filling or Monitoring a Cavity: Filling the Cavity

Your whole life you’ve never had a cavity. You show up to the dentist, he or she looks in your mouth, glances at your X-rays and all of a sudden have are diagnosed with your first cavity, or even with several of them. Your dentist points out something in your mouth or on the X-ray, sticks an instrument in there to convince you of how deep it is and advises you to fix the cavity immediately or worry about serious problems on the horizon. But you’ve never had pain on any of these teeth and didn’t even know you had a cavity until that moment. Should you really get the filling done? Or is there some other option out there, like maybe not filling it and just monitoring it for a while?

Pros of Filling a Cavity


1. Getting the filling done will stop the cavity before it gets deeper and hits the tooth nerve. The problem with cavities is that they never really reverse themselves. Meaning that if you were to stop eating all processed sugars and started brushing and flossing diligently, you could slow the progression but you can’t rid yourself of the cavity altogether. And as the cavity continues to get deeper and closer to the tooth nerve problems will arise. When the cavity touches the tooth nerve you start feeling serious pain and will have no choice but to either have the nerve removed to keep the tooth (a root canal) or have the whole tooth removed (an extraction). Having understood the consequences of not filling a cavity, having a cavity filled sounds like a much better option than waiting around to see what could happen!

2. Once you are experiencing serious pain it is already too late to simply fill the cavity. When you first develop a cavity the bacteria have barely managed to find their way into your teeth but haven’t infiltrated the tooth nerve yet. At this stage you might be slightly sensitive to sweets, hot or cold. The sensitivity is short lived and usually lasts for a few seconds or so. In fact, you may not even have any symptoms at all. But as the bacteria within the cavity continue to work their way deeper and encroach on the tooth nerve, your tooth will now become infected and you start feeling pain. Unfortunately a filling is no longer an option when you are experiencing this type of severe, lingering and throbbing pain. This is why you must fill the cavity before it gets to this stage.

3. Filling a cavity is much easier and way more affordable than other extensive dental treatments. A single root canal and crown will typically cost you as much as having six to ten fillings done! This means you might be able to fix just about all of your cavities for what would be the price of having a single infected tooth fixed with a root canal and crown. Also getting a filling is a whole lot easier than a root canal which is even more reasons for you to hurry and get those cavities fixed before they start hurting! And when you catch fillings in their early stages, when they are still in the outer layer of your tooth, it is very easy and pain free to fix these teeth.

NEXT >> Filling or Monitoring a Cavity: Monitoring the Cavity

Filling or Monitoring a Cavity: How to Decide