Old Silver Fillings
Many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Todays tooth colored composite materials create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
In case of older white fillings some discoloration and wear may be apparent. If there are no indications for total replacement due to decay, fractures, or unacceptable aesthetics; in most cases a simple addition/repair will suffice to bring these restoration into full service.
What are the disadvantages of silver/mercury fillings?
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain about 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, wear and leak traces of mercury throughout their lifetime contributing to the total mercury intake of the body. Because they are a mixture of several metals in moist environment of the mouth the surface of amalgam will form an electric circuit that may affect your well-being in the long term (recall an occasional “zap” when a metal utensil will touch the amalgam). Another consequence of having a corroded amalgam in the tooth is a high chance of tooth cracking and fracture which may necessitate crown and/or root canal treatment. Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth-coloured restorations.
What are the advantages of tooth colored restorations?
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Composite restorations are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can even be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost, however in some cases an inlay/onlay or a full coverage crown may be necessary. Tooth colored restorations allow the tooth to remain intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural tooth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
Replacing silver fillings with a tooth colored restorations
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations usually within one appointment. Inlays/onlays or crowns will however require two visits.