Dental amalgam or "silver fillings" have been used for over a century and have been a reliable way of restoring a tooth that is decayed or broken. Amalgam fillings can last a long time and most research shows no absolute proof of adverse effects of having them in your mouth, though some would debate this point.
However, amalgam fillings do have several drawbacks. The tooth around an amalgam filling tends to be under greater stress and we see cracks in the tooth structure over time. Sometimes these cracks may result in loss of significant tooth structure resulting in the tooth requiring a crown or root canal treatment. Amalgam fillings can corrode over time and if the amalgam starts to break down then the material can be ingested. The appearance of amalgam fillings is something most people do not like and amalgam can cause the tooth to darken as well.
We do not place amalgam fillings for a number of reasons and find that alternative materials work much better.
Composite resin or "white filling material" is the most widely used alternative and offers a fantastic result where the loss of tooth has been "small to medium". The composite bonds to the tooth, is ready to eat on straight away and can be matched perfectly to the colour of your tooth. With composite we can achieve an invisible repair of the tooth.
Modern porcelains are very strong and offer fantastic long term solutions, especially where a significant amount of tooth tissue has been lost. Whether the porcelain "caps" the whole tooth or just "fills" in the cavity, it is custom made in a lab for your tooth and is bonded in place. In many cases it is the best solution.
Some people are happy to consider gold restorations and these have a long track record of success. Where aesthetics are not important gold can be an excellent material of choice. Similar to porcelain the gold restoration is custom made and bonded in place.
At Dental Design we prefer to remove amalgam as soon as the filling or tooth is compromised and recommend the removal is not delayed. We use rubber dam to isolate any tooth that is having an amalgam filling removed so that no amalgam is released into the mouth as well as using copious amounts of water with high speed suction to prevent aerosol of the amalgam. We are also able to take further steps should you have any concern about the removal of the amalgam.
If you are worried about your old silver fillings and would like to consider removing them, give us a call. We can advise you of the best options for their replacement.