Good question. Your mouth may be a hodgepodge of fillings, crowns, and bridges accumulated over a lifetime of dental visits. Are there valid reasons to replace metal fillings with tooth-colored versions other than cosmetic? If you decide to replace your silver amalgam fillings, what are the methods your Northern Virginia dentist recommends?
Why Fillings Need To Be Replaced
The fact is that dental work does not last forever. Any dental material will wear down over time because of the stress our teeth endure.
Although fillings may last for many years, eventually all fillings need to be replaced.
There are several factors that contribute to the longevity of your original filling or restoration:
- type of filling
- the size of the cavity
- oral care and hygiene habits
- dental problems, such as teeth grinding
Now that you’ve come to terms with the common misconception that your filling will last forever, why would you choose white, composite restorations?
The Problems With Silver Fillings
There were reasons why dentists used amalgam fillings for so many years. The material was cheap, durable and easy to use.
So why are many dentists now using other materials?
1. Tooth decay and cracks
With time metal fillings start contracting, resulting in small spaces where bacteria can start wearing away your tooth enamel. This may cause cracks and fractures in your teeth which are also susceptible to decay. Cavities may form under amalgam fillings which are very difficult to identify because they are invisible by x-rays.
2. Discoloration of your teeth
The silver in the dental material can start showing through tooth enamel making your teeth appear gray and dead.
3. Mercury toxicity
Many people are concerned about their exposure to mercury. Mercury damages our internal organs and nervous system and may contribute to or cause auto-immune disorders or diseases such ALS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
The Comprehensive Approach to Replace Metal Fillings
Normal wear and tear and aging will mean that at some point you need to replace metal fillings. At Burke Centre Dental Arts, Dr. McMillan encourages his patients to take a preventative approach to their oral health.
A proactive, comprehensive dentistry approach will prove more cost-effective over time as problems are identified early before costly dental work is required. At your regular hygiene visit, your dentist will examine your fillings to identify any weaknesses or wear.
- Takes less time out of your life
- Costs way less than traditional “drill & fill” dentistry
- Prevents dental problems in the future
- And guarantees a spectacular smile for a lifetime
You may choose to replace all your silver fillings at once and rest easy, knowing that everything is done. Or you may decide to take a quadrant approach. Your dentist can help determine the area of your mouth that is the worst and break your dental work up into sections. This year you may focus on the top right, next year the bottom left, and so on.
Schedule Your Comprehensive Consultation
So do you need to replace your metal fillings? There are many reasons to consider it: the current state of your restorations and what’s best for your long-term oral care.
Every person’s situation differs, so schedule a comprehensive consultation with your Burke cosmetic dentist, Dr. McMillan to find out the options available for you and determine what’s best in your case.
Have any questions about comprehensive dentistry? Ask Dr. McMillan by leaving a comment below.