If you are one of the millions of people with silver amalgam fillings, you may be wondering whether you should have them replaced. Your trusted team at High Street Dentistry will evaluate your unique needs and help you make the best decision for your oral health.
Dental Amalgam Fillings Overview
Dental amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, have been used over the past 150 years to treat tooth decay and cavities. They are made of a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper, which together form a strong and durable filling material.
The American Dental Association (ADA) supports the use of dental amalgam fillings as a safe, reliable, and effective treatment for tooth decay. However, concerns about the material’s safety continue to arise from time to time, even though there’s no evidence to support that patients are better off replacing their silver fillings with alternative materials.
Amalgam fillings last longer and outperform other types of filling materials, such as composite fillings, especially in the back teeth. At High Street Dentistry, we see patients with functional and damage-free amalgam fillings that have been in place for more than 30 or 40 years.
Should You Replace Your Silver Fillings?
One of the main reasons people opt to have their metal fillings replaced is their mercury content. However, studies have shown that the levels of mercury in amalgam fillings are considered to be safe.
At High Street Dentistry, we do not recommend replacing silver fillings that are free of damage or defects. However, just like any filling material, an amalgam filling needs to be replaced if it has cracks, leaks, damage, or poor margins, which may provide a pathway for harmful bacteria to enter the tooth and cause new decay or damage. We highly recommend leaving functional silver fillings in place unless they pose a cosmetic concern.
What Are Your Alternatives to Silver Fillings?
If you have a small to mid-sized cavity, we may recommend a tooth-colored composite filling. However, when replacing a large amalgam filling, we may recommend an inlay, onlay, or porcelain crown.
Inlays: Inlays are similar to fillings but are made in a dental lab from impressions of your teeth, then bonded to the tooth structure to restore the tooth’s shape and function. They are typically used to repair damage that’s too extensive for traditional dental fillings but not severe enough to require dental crowns.
Onlays: Onlays are similar to inlays but are used to restore teeth with larger areas of damage, including one or more of their cusps. Like inlays, an onlay is custom-made in a dental lab and bonded to the affected tooth, restoring its form and function.
Dental Crowns: Dental crowns are custom-made caps we place over the visible portions of damaged teeth to restore their shape, size, strength, and function. They are typically used to restore teeth with extensive damage.
Quality Dental Care Near Me in Jefferson City, MO
If you are considering replacing a silver filling, contact your trusted team at High Street Dentistry. We will evaluate your restorations and recommend the best solution for your smile. You can always count on us for trusted advice and exceptional service. We invite you to call us at (573) 636-7432 to schedule your appointment or request one online today!