For the longest time, mercury amalgam fillings were the only option available for those needing to get a tooth filled. With advancements being made regularly in the field of dental materials and equipment, today we have the option to choose composite fillings instead. Read on to learn about composite types of fillings for filling cavities and if making the switch is right for you.
1. Silver Fillings Have a Limited Lifespan
The typical lifespan of a traditional silver filling is around 10-15 years. When the time comes to have them replaced, you will have to make a decision about what kind of fillings you will choose. Many patients choose to replace their silver old silver fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings for a seamless smile.
Some patients even consider having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings before it is time to replace them. If you are self-conscious about your smile, ask Dr. Owens if replacing your amalgam restorations is a good option for your smile.
2. Amalgam Contains Mercury
According to the Food and Drug Administration, dental amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, contain elemental mercury. Mercury is known to cause adverse health effects on the brain and kidneys. Replacing your silver fillings is not only important for the health of your mouth but your overall health and well-being.
3. Amalgam Fillings React to Temperature Changes
Amalgam fillings contain a composite metal mix of silver, tin, and copper, which, like other metals, are highly temperature-sensitive. This means that while eating hot and cold foods, your fillings expand and contract, placing pressure on the surrounding tooth. Over time, this can cause chips or breaks in the tooth structure, known as microfractures.
4. Composite Fillings Strengthen Your Tooth
Unlike traditional silver fillings, composite fillings bond to the tooth. This gives the tooth extra strength and support that the traditional fillings don’t provide. They are also applied in layers and each layer is cured before adding another layer which makes them even stronger.
5. You Can’t See Composite Fillings
In contrast with silver amalgam fillings, composite fillings have been designed to match the color of your teeth. Some people are self-conscious when it comes to smiling or laughing with their silver fillings, and this is no longer an issue with the composite fillings.
6. Silver Fillings Can Be Downright Dangerous
Scientific evidence shows that the effects of mercury on the human body are greatly negative. The World Health Organization states that the inhalation of mercury vapor causes health problems of the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, kidneys, and lungs. In addition, it also states that mercury poisoning can be fatal.
The FDA states that silver amalgam fillings release lower levels of mercury into the body in the form of a vapor that may be absorbed by the lungs. However, the organization also insists that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and up.
The American Dental Association affirms it’s position, based on scientific studies, that silver fillings are durable, safe, and effective. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states that there is no scientific evidence to support mercury poisoning as responsible for the onset of Multiple Sclerosis.
All of this information aside, some studies have been done that show an adverse effect of amalgam fillings in pregnant women, linking the fillings with an increased risk of perinatal death.
7. Silver Fillings Don’t Look Natural
Silver fillings may cause insecurities for some people, as they are quite obvious when talking or laughing. This may be a good enough reason for some to switch to composite fillings. Consult with our dental practice if you are considering the switch.
8. Silver Fillings Can Actually Cause More Tooth Decay
If you are experiencing new or more frequent sensitivity around your silver fillings, it is important to your dentist as soon as possible. This may be a sign that bacteria have breached the filling where it was originally sealed. Bacteria inside of a filling can cause tooth decay, if not addressed immediately.
9. Not Replacing Silver Fillings Can Lead to Crowns
If a tooth is weak or broken from a silver filling, it may require a crown to be placed over it to restore the tooth. If you don’t replace your fillings when necessary, this can cause damage to the tooth and may require a crown as well. Getting a crown fitted is more invasive and expensive than a composite filling.
10. Replacing Silver Fillings Can Make Your Teeth Less Sensitive
If you experience sensitivity due to your current fillings, composite fillings may be a good option for you. Composite fillings consist of a plastic, ceramic, and glass mixture. In contrast with the metal fillings, these are known to insulate the teeth and are more consistent against temperature changes.
Whether you are in the market for new fillings, or you are concerned with your current ones, Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry strives to provide the utmost professionalism to our patients.
We pride ourselves on our metal-free dental practices. We will work together with you and provide you with the knowledge that will empower your decisions for your health journey. Contact us today at (248)-716-8623 to set up a consultation.