Should I Replace Silver Fillings?

Illustration of a silver amalgam filling

Amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, have been used for over 100 years because this type of filling is sturdy, long-lasting, and inexpensive. This restoration material is an alloy that can contain mercury, copper, silver, tin, zinc, indium, mercury, gold, platinum, and palladium. As dentistry and restorative techniques have evolved, tooth-colored composite fillings have become more popular.

Some patients are concerned about their amalgam fillings due to leakage of mercury vapor and possible adverse health effects. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re wondering if replacing your silver fillings is the right choice for your smile.

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe & Effective?

Many national and international public health agencies and organizations agree that amalgam is a safe and effective restoration material based on the review of available studies and research. Evidence does not strongly indicate silver fillings are associated with more systemic disease or adverse health effects compared to resin composite fillings.

However, in 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Association recommended that amalgam restorations be avoided by: pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, and nursing women; children, especially those younger than six years of age; people with pre-existing neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease; people with impaired kidney function; and people with known heightened sensitivity or allergy to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

Consider the Risks

In the case of getting new amalgam fillings, many patients and healthcare providers want to err on the side of caution and use composite fillings instead of silver fillings. Composite fillings are equally functional but look better.

If you notice an old amalgam filling is damaged or you find shavings or pieces of the filling in your mouth, you should see your dentist immediately. A damaged filling needs to be replaced to protect your teeth and restore your oral function. Replacing the damaged amalgam with a composite filling will blend in with your smile better.

Please keep in mind that the process of replacing an intact silver filling may unnecessarily put a patient at risk for infection. You and your dentist should consider potential risks and benefits to determine if a patient would should replace a functional silver filling.

Reliable Restorative Dentistry in Farmington, AR

Fillings can help your smile regain the strength and reliability that healthy, functional teeth offer. If you have more questions about amalgam vs. tooth-colored fillings, don’t hesitate to contact Farmington Dental & Orthodontics. Contact us today!

Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

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