Should You Replace Amalgam Fillings?

replacing amalgam fillings

Should You Replace Amalgam Fillings?

Sick of the metal fillings in your mouth? In the past, amalgam fillings were the only option for treating a cavity, but that just isn’t the case anymore. It’s not essential that you replace silver fillings, but composite fillings look more natural and are better for your teeth. At Hicks Dental Group, the health of your teeth and the appearance of your smile are both extremely important to us, which is why replacing amalgam fillings is one of the many services we offer. 

Five Reasons to Consider Replacing Your Amalgam Fillings

1: They Contain Mercury

Half of an amalgam filling is made of a powdered mixture of silver, copper, zinc, and other metals, and the other half is liquid mercury. Metal fillings may release low levels of mercury vapor from time to time, which can be absorbed by your lungs. 

Too much mercury exposure can cause problems with your brain and kidneys. Luckily, there is little evidence that those small amounts of mercury vapor cause health problems and the FDA has deemed metal fillings safe. However, it is still a good idea to remove them if you have a lot of metal fillings in your mouth. 

Some people are also more susceptible to the effects of mercury, including:

  • Children of all ages, but especially those younger than six
  • People who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Those who are allergic to mercury or the metals in an amalgam filling
  • People with impaired kidney function
  • Anyone that has a pre-existing neurological disease

2: They Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity

The outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel, protects the sensitive interior. Enamel keeps out tooth decay and insulates your teeth to protect them from hot and cold temperatures. 

Amalgam fillings, however, do not insulate your teeth well. When you eat or drink anything too hot or cold, the temperature can travel through the metal filling and straight to your nerve, resulting in pain. Composite fillings are much better at insulating your teeth. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, it may be time to replace your silver fillings. 

3: They May Damage Your Teeth

Metal fillings can also expand and contract when they come into contact with hot and cold temperatures. When the filling expands, it puts stress on your tooth which can lead to chips and cracks. When the filling contracts, it can collect bacteria in the space between the filling and the tooth, causing tooth decay. Both types of damage lead to the need for further dental work such as crowns.  

4: They Don’t Strengthen Your Tooth

Composite fillings bond better to your tooth than amalgam fillings do. As a result, teeth with composite fillings are stronger and have better support than teeth with silver fillings. While metal fillings can last 15 years compared to composite fillings, which last around 10 years, metal fillings are more likely to deteriorate and fall out than composite fillings. 

5: They Don’t Look Natural

Even if you haven’t experienced any problems with your silver fillings, you may want to consider replacing them for cosmetic purposes. The silver color of amalgam fillings is very noticeable when you laugh or speak. A tooth with a metal filling may also become discolored and turn grayish over time. Composite fillings, on the other hand, match the color of your tooth for a natural look. 

Amalgam Filling Replacement in Prescott

If you’re interested in replacing the amalgam fillings in your mouth, contact Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, Arizona. We specialize in a variety of cosmetic dental procedures, from tooth whitening to replacing metal fillings. Call 928-445-6030 today to make an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/22/2022). Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy from Pexels