In recent years, the dental health world has exploded with new technologies and techniques that have vastly
improved the lives and smiles of people all over the world. However, since these techniques and materials are still relatively new, there are many remnants of the old way of doing things hanging around. As an example, many people alive today still have their old silver fillings. Many dentists are starting to avoid filling cavities with silver fillings, but are OK with their patients keeping those silver fillings.
If you have silver fillings, you might be wondering if they’re still safe to have in your mouth. These types of fillings have a long, controversial past that’s worth examining.
The History of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, were first invented in 1819 by an English chemist. These fillings were made up of a variety of different materials, including mercury, silver and tin. Almost from the moment the first amalgam filling was used, there was controversy, centered mostly around the mercury content found in the fillings. Many people, including dentists, were concerned that the mercury in the fillings would cause major health problems in patients.
Are Silver Fillings Safe?
Because of the controversy surrounding silver fillings, there have been a huge number of studies performed examining the overall safety of using them in the human mouth. For the most part, the studies have ended with the consensus that silver fillings are still safe to use. However, there are still vocal counterparts that argue against the efficacy and health concerns related to amalgam fillings.
When They Need to be Replaced
Replacing your old silver fillings can be a touchy subject. Many dentists want to replace them as soon as they see them in their patients, and other dentists advice waiting until they become a problem. Both opinions hold their own merits. If you have silver fillings, its best to consult with your dentist and see what they say.
The typical reasons to remove silver fillings include:
- Age – All fillings age over time and this aging process can weaken the fillings’ overall effectiveness at keeping the decay away. If your filling is loose, you can experience cavities in teeth that have already been filled.
- Fractures – Amalgam fillings can lead to fractures and cracks in your teeth because of the amount of tooth removed during the filling process. If your dentist notices these fractures, they’ll likely want to replace the filling.
- Cosmetic – There’s no way around it. Silver fillings just don’t look as good as the composite fillings. If you want fillings that match the color of your tooth, it’s time to get the old ones replaced.
Consult with Your Dentist
If you have silver fillings and are considering getting them replaced, it’s time to set up an appointment at our office and talk to us about your options. We’ll take a look at your old amalgam fillings and determine if there is any reason we should or shouldn’t replace them. Getting tooth colored fillings can greatly improve the look of your smile. Don’t wait to get your appointment set up today.