Brian Davey DDS

Kick Those Metal Fillings to the Curb

silver metal amalgam fillings

Do you still have metal, “silver” or technically known as amalgam fillings in the back of your mouth, or even worse in the middle of your mouth? If you’re between the ages of 25 to 65+ you probably do! These unsightly and some say dangerous fillings used to be the only way to fill a cavity. Thankfully dental medicine has come a long way but many patients come in with failing metal filling in need of replacement while others simply want them removed before they have a chance to fail.

Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of metals, usually half or more of which is mercury. If you know much about this alloy metal, you know that the metal contracts as the temperature changes. So when you drink or eat something hot it expands and puts a serious strain on the tooth. This can lead to cracks and fractures over time and with more extreme changes. And when you eat something cold like ice cream this can cause the filling to contract leaving gaps around the filling for food particles to get inside and weaken the tooth or cause infection. Over time as the filling begins to deteriorate (as an amalgam filling is typically only good for about 10-15 years) particles and vapors of the mercury leak out of the filling, exposing you to mercury which is thought to be dangerous as we mentioned above, especially to those who are extra sensitive to the substance and those who are nursing or pregnant along with children. 

Composite fillings are tooth colored fillings that actually bond to the teeth making them stronger and less likely to crack or fracture over time. They strengthen the teeth and can reduce tooth sensitivity which is a problem many people face after years of older amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are almost invisible to the naked eye when placed correctly because the color is matched to the natural tooth color making them blend in with the teeth unlike amalgam fillings which stick out like a sore thumb. The only thing amalgam fillings have composite fillings beat on is length of time they last as composite’s typically last 5 to 10 years versus the 10-15 years that amalgams fillings last. 

If you want to learn more about replacing your amalgam fillings with composite, call our office today at 858-538-8300 or you can book your next appointment online here.