Some dentists believe that a filling should not be removed unless it is damaged, broken or decayed to avoid any further trauma to the tooth. Historically, amalgam fillings were a resilient and durable material to restore and preserve natural teeth, however, today more and more patients are looking to have them changed. Amalgam or more commonly known to you and me, as a silver filling, does have its advantages as well as disadvantages. We take a look at the pros and cons of silver fillings, whether replacing them are beneficial and or safe, or whether it shouldn’t be recommended at all.

What is a white (composite) filling?

A composite filling blends indistinguishably to your natural tooth and teeth. Composite is made from biocompatible acrylic resins and ceramics (pressed synthetics and glass), which are resilient as well as long-lasting.

What is a silver (amalgam) filling?

An amalgam filling is silver in colour and is made from powdered alloys of silver, tin, and copper. Mercury is then used to bind the alloys together to create a strong, durable and long lasting filling.

Advantages of replacing an amalgam fillings:

  • A composite filling gives you a natural looking smile.
  • Silver fillings are opaque to X-rays making it hard to detect underlying decay.
  • There is evidence to suggest that amalgam could be reactive to hot and cold, which could cause it to expand and shrink. This has been linked to tooth sensitivity as well as cracks in teeth.
  • The FDA has approved that the amount of mercury in amalgam fillings is harmless, however, the ratio in a filling is around 50% mercury. Mercury has been proven to be toxic to humans.

Disadvantages of replacing an amalgam filling

  •    Removing any type of filling will usually result in further trauma to a tooth, for example, it can lead to tooth sensitivity. In cases of severe sensitivity, a root canal may be necessary.
  •    Compared to white fillings, silver fillings are self-sealing, which means they are more resistant to recurrent decay.
  •    Silver fillings are long lasting and are good at preserving the longevity of a tooth. 
  •    Silver fillings are as strong as gold! Which means that they are stronger and more resilient than a composite/white filling. 

The Verdict

There are advantages and disadvantages to replacing a silver filling, however,  the most common reason silver fillings are replaced is because of aesthetic reasons. Many patients want a more natural looking smile, therefore replacing a silver filling is mostly down to personal preference. The second most common reason patients want an amalgam filling replaced is because it contains mercury, however, patients should be aware this has been proven not to be harmful.

Removing an amalgam filling does have its benefits and can be safe, however, it is mostly down to personal preference. The best that you can do is seek the advice of a dentist.  A dentist can then evaluate the extent of damage to your tooth and see how safe it will be to remove your silver filling and replace it with a white one. The health of your tooth and maintaining the health of your tooth is by far the most important point to consider.

Do you want to replace you silver filling? Contact the Brighton Implant Clinic today and book an appointment with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists.

Brighton Implant Clinic

The Brighton Implant Clinic was established in 2009, Hove, East Sussex. The award – winning clinic now spans over four sites in Hove,  Brighton, Worthing, and Hailsham. Founder and principal dentist Dr Bruno Silva has created a clinic with state of the art facilities and equipment including its own dental laboratory. We provide personalised and affordable dental care, including dental implants and cosmetic dentistry solutions, with additional services such as sedative dentistry. Dr Silva and his team believe a smile is a gift that keeps on giving, confidence in your smile is confidence in you. Their promise is to provide patients with first class dental treatments with first class patient care.

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