How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Do you firmly believe that you suffer from symptoms of mercury toxicity?
- Do you absolutely require having a perfect smile and can’t afford to show any metal when smiling?
- Are you prepared to do a crown or root canal should one or two of your teeth end up requiring one after the replacement?
- 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.
- Are your existing silver fillings quite old and most likely due replacement?
- 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.
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
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
How to decide if I am a good teeth whitening candidate or not?
To determine if you are a good teeth whitening candidate answer the following questions:
- Do you want Hollywood white teeth?
- Are your teeth very sensitive to hot and especially to cold?
- Do you have fillings or crowns on the front teeth?
- Are your teeth grayish or pearl colored?
- Do you have permanent stains, brown or chalky colored, which are located inside the teeth?
- Do you have plaque and tartar covering your teeth?
- Has it been a long time since you had a dental cleaning?
- Do you have any unfinished cavities or suffer from untreated gum disease?
- Do you have crooked teeth? To the point that it is hard to apply the whitening gel evenly on the teeth surfaces?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions then you have to address some issues before whitening your teeth. You’re not a good teeth whitening candidate until these issues have been addressed. Talk to your dentist to discuss a plan how to approach your whitening correctly. Otherwise you might end up with some unexpected surprises along the way!
If you answered “no” to all of the above questions then you are a good teeth whitening candidate. You can use whitening strips along with whitening mouthwash and toothpaste for best at-home results. Or consider going to a dentist for an in-office whitening treatment or custom bleaching trays.
Final thought on teeth whitening candidate
Make sure you are a good teeth whitening candidate before using the more advanced treatment options. Keep in mind that the initial effects of a good teeth whitening typically last for a few months. If you start to see the effects wearing off you may have to go back for a touch-up treatment. There is no guarantee as to how long the initial whitening results will last. To better maintain the whiter teeth over time try using whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes. If you want even whiter teeth then consider using either custom take-home trays or whitening strips every few months or weeks to better sustain the results. How often one you will require a touch-up ultimately comes down to how white you expect your teeth to remain over time.
NEXT >> Good Teeth Whitening Candidate
Bad Teeth Whitening Candidate