Many adults who have had cavities filled in years past still have silver amalgam fillings.
However, patients today frequently receive composite resin fillings, which are tooth-colored and metal-free.
Fortunately, patients who are unhappy with their silver fillings can often have them replaced with composite fillings.
Why replace silver fillings?
Patients opt to replace their metal fillings for a variety of reasons.
- Some choose to replace their silver fillings for cosmetic purposes. Because silver fillings were popular decades ago but are not used as frequently anymore, having a mouth full of silver fillings may make a patient appear older. Some patients feel more confident with unnoticeable, tooth-colored fillings.
- Some patients worry about the mercury in silver fillings and choose to replace them with composite fillings, which are mercury-free. The American Dental Association has said that the level of mercury in a silver filling is not dangerous, but many patients feel better knowing their fillings do not contain mercury.
- Silver fillings may need to be replaced if decay has developed underneath or if the filling has cracked or broken. In these situations, some patients opt to have their new fillings made of composite since they are a more modern choice and they need the procedure done anyway.
How silver fillings are replaced
Replacing silver fillings with composite resin is a fairly simple procedure that is done in a single appointment.
You’ll first receive a local anesthetic to numb the area and prevent you from feeling pain. Then, the old filling is broken up using a drill and the pieces are suctioned out. Finally, the new filling is placed.
If you’re unhappy with your silver fillings, you might consider replacing them. For many patients, this simple procedure is an easy way to improve the appearance of the teeth and, in some cases, improve their oral health.