There are still dentists that use silver fillings when people have cavities, but many dentists have turned to the use of tooth-colored fillings instead. Tooth-colored fillings have several benefits over silver fillings, and you may be able to choose from these two options when you have a cavity filled. But what about the silver fillings you already have? Some people visit dentists to have them replaced, and this is primarily done for cosmetic purposes. Here are several things you should know about replacing your old silver fillings.
What Are Silver Fillings?
Silver fillings are made with dental amalgam, and this type of filling has been used for 150 years. Dental amalgam is a material made from a variety of different metals, including silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury.
Many people have concerns over the use of mercury in amalgam fillings, and because of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated the safety of mercury in amalgam fillings. After they reviewed and evaluated this issue, they stated that mercury could continue being used in these fillings because it appeared to be safe for this purpose. The American Dental Association (ADA) and other groups also believe that using mercury in fillings is safe.
Should You Replace Yours?
Some people disagree with the findings of the FDA, though. Because of this, many people have decided to have their silver amalgam fillings replaced with white ones. This is a choice that you can make for yourself, but you should know that research shows that amalgam fillings are not harmful for your health. You can still make the decision to replace yours though. Many people also replace their silver fillings for strictly cosmetic reasons.
If your silver fillings really stand out, or if you are trying to greatly improve the looks of your teeth and smile, making the decision to have your old silver fillings replaced might not be a bad idea. When a dentist replaces them, he or she will remove them completely and fill in the holes with a resin material. This material can be tinted to match the rest of your teeth, and these will cause the new fillings to blend in.
You might also want to consider replacing your silver fillings with tooth-colored ones if:
- The teeth have problems – If your tooth is cracked or if the tooth has additional decay on it, replacing the silver filling might be the best way to protect the tooth.
- The fillings are really old – If your amalgam fillings are really old, it might be worthwhile to replace them for this reason. Fillings do not last forever, and if one of your silver fillings is loose, for example, your tooth might be prone to developing cavities from the gaps between the filling and the tooth.
How Is This Process Completed?
If you decide to go through with this process, your dentist will begin by giving you anesthesia to numb your mouth. The dentist will then have to remove the entire silver filling with a dental drill. If the dentist finds additional decay on the tooth, he or she will remove that too. Once this is complete, your dentist will fill the hole with the tooth-colored filling material. When it dries, the dentist will polish it to smooth it out.
If you are not happy with your smile, you should visit a cosmetic dentist. Replacing silver fillings is just one of many services you can choose to have completed as a way of improving your teeth and smile. Contact a clinic that specializes in cosmetic dentistry today to schedule a consultation appointment.