Silver Amalgam Filling Replacement
Why Should You Replace Silver Amalgam Fillings In My Teeth?
Let’s be honest, most everyone knows that old silver fillings contain mercury. What gets a lot less press is that fact that amalgam fillings, though durable and relatively inexpensive, have two little-known dark secrets: they darken teeth and lead to fractures.
Replace Amalgam Fillings That Darken Teeth
This picture is pretty obvious. But it usually takes seeing a picture of someone’s mouth to realize just how visible the silver fillings are in a smile. Amalgam fillings can show up as grayed or darkened areas on individual teeth or as shiny dark patches, depending on whether you’re seeing the darkening effect of a large filling or the filling itself.
Replace Amalgam Fillings That Can Fracture Teeth
Although amalgam fillings are a long-lasting restoration option, they can possibly cause tooth fractures. These types of fillings are made from a mixture of metals that constantly expand and contract with temperature changes in the mouth. Over many years, this micro expansion and contraction is thought to apply pressure on the surrounding tooth structure, causing the tooth to weaken over time. A weakened tooth is vulnerable to fractures.
Modern Restorations are Whiter and Healthier
Removing and replacing amalgam fillings with a more clinically advanced tooth-colored restoration is a double win. A modern restoration brightens and corrects tooth darkening, and it stops the expansion and contraction that contributes to weakened teeth.
Not Sure If You actually NEED an Dental Extraction?
Hearing you need an dental extraction when you’re not sure why it’s necessary. How can you know if the tooth truly needs to come out or if it could actually be restored? Isn’t it best to keep your own teeth as long as possible?
We meet new patients all the time coming in for a second opinion and feeling frustrated that another dentist wanted to take a tooth out that the patient is pretty sure could be saved. What we’ve discovered is that about 5% of the time, there was a restorative option available that was overlooked. However, about 95% of the time, the tooth needs to be extracted and the diagnosing dentist simply didn’t take the time to adequately explain why.
It’s easy as a dentist who “does teeth” all day long every day, to forget that patients don’t “do teeth” all day long and that they need extra information in order to feel comfortable making decisions, especially about losing teeth. Dentists also have different personal guidelines about what “saving a tooth” means.
Here are my personal guidelines for when teeth should be extracted:
- If the tooth has an untreatable level of infection inside the tooth
- If the tooth has an untreatable level of infection in the surrounding gums
- If the bone around the tooth has dissolved and can’t support the tooth
- If the tooth has broken or decayed to the point that it can’t support a crown
- If the tooth has already been root canaled twice
Why these guidelines? Because I don’t believe that fixing a tooth just to have it break again in a month counts as “saving a tooth.” Every one of these scenarios could be patched, but would explode as a toothache, dangerous infection or deeper trauma within days or weeks, further risking your health. I’m not willing to put my patients’ health at risk for convenience.
If you’re not sure why your tooth “needs an dental extraction” come see me for a second opinion. We’ll take a look and a 3D-CT radiograph give you a clear explanation of what is going on either with that one tooth or in your whole mouth depending on how much you’d like to know.