Is it Time to Replace Your Old Silver Amalgam Fillings with Tooth Colored Fillings?

If you are an adult and have silver amalgam fillings in your mouth, you are not alone. For many years, amalgam has been the most popular material used by dentists to fill dental cavities. This is because it is relatively inexpensive as compared to other materials and is extremely durable. However, many in the dental profession are moving away from amalgam fillings and using other materials including porcelain and composite resin to fill cavities. In fact, many dental practices all over the country are no longer offering silver amalgam fillings at all and opt for tooth colored fillings.

The reasons for this trend are varied and include both cosmetic and safety concerns. There is no doubt that porcelain and composite resin fillings are more attractive than silver amalgam fillings because they are tooth colored and can be made to closely match the color of natural teeth. After all, no one wants to look at a mouth full of metal every time they open their mouth. Even if your silver amalgam fillings are in the back of your mouth, they can still show when you laugh or smile. For this reason alone, many individuals are choosing to have their old silver amalgam fillings removed and replaced with natural looking porcelain or composite resin fillings.

Aside from the cosmetic concerns, other dentists and consumers alike are concerned about the safety of silver amalgam fillings. This is because amalgam filings contain Mercury: a known neurotoxin. While the evidence is not conclusive at this time, many worry that continued exposure to Mercury vapors from amalgam fillings can cause serious long-term health problems.  Others are simply not comfortable having a known Neurotoxin placed so close to their brains.

Whether your old silver amalgam fillings are worn out or slipping and need to replaced or you are just tired of having metal in your mouth, porcelain or composite resin fillings provide an attractive alternative to silver amalgam fillings. However, before having your old amalgam fillings removed and replaced, it is important to find a dentist who is experienced with this procedure and adheres to the highest standard when it comes to their safe removal. There are currently a number of protocols in place that help to reduce your exposure to Mercury vapors during the removal process.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria

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