Tag Archives: Composite

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

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Do you firmly believe that you suffer from symptoms of mercury toxicity?
  2. Do you absolutely require having a perfect smile and can’t afford to show any metal when smiling?
  3. Are you prepared to do a crown or root canal should one or two of your teeth end up requiring one after the replacement?
  4. Would you be willing to pay for inlays, onlays and other forms of crowns for the larger silver fillings where a white filling is not a recommended replacement? These may cost up to $1,000 per tooth.
  5. Are your existing silver fillings quite old and most likely due replacement?
  6. You don’t have very sensitive teeth to begin with correct? “no” means your teeth are indeed very sensitive to hot and cold.

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you should consider replacing your silver fillings with white ones. If you strongly believe that there are serious health risks associated with having mercury within dental fillings or if you blame them for your health vows then we are not going to dissuade you from having them replaced. We have come across patients that claim their overall health has improved after they replaced their silver fillings with white ones but there is no scientific evidence to support this.

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then you are probably better off leaving the silver fillings alone unless one of them is cracked or has a cavity on it.

Final Thought

The main reason we warn against replacing all of your silver fillings replaced with white ones is because of the high level of risks associated with this treatment. There is always the probability of developing sensitivity and pain which could last for months or may lead up to your teeth requiring crowns and root canals. And no one wants that! Keep in mind that there are still billions of people out there living with silver fillings in their mouthed that do just fine. Of course replacing the silver fillings with white ones will eliminate the risks associated with mercury and may improve your smile a bit as well, but first you have to decide if it is worth the risks to you.

The biggest issue with replacing silver fillings with white ones is the possibility of ending up with sensitivity or pain. But this is more likely to occur when larger fillings are being replaced. Replacing small fillings has little to no risks since these filling don’t sit too close to the tooth nerve and you won’t risk undermining your tooth structure either. So if you have a few small silver fillings left in your mouth then replacing them should be safe and easy and you shouldn’t worry yourself too much over the risks and complications.

What is the best approach to having multiple silver fillings replaced with white ones? It is best to talk to your dentist to start planning this accordingly as it is almost always best to replace only a few fillings at a time. This will ensure that you won’t end up with pain or infections on multiple teeth at the same time. Try starting with the smaller fillings and gradually work your way up to the larger and more risky ones. If you do have dental insurance, try and leave some benefits aside for just in case you do end up needing that dreaded root canal after all. You might even want to consider replacing the silver fillings gradually over the course of one to three years if you are not in any rush.

NEXT >> Replacing All the Silver Fillings

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

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? 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