Dental fillings are among the most commonly performed dental procedures worldwide. Today, a wide range of dental fillings are available for restoring damaged teeth. However, a few decades ago, silver amalgam fillings were the only option for dentists for dental restoration. Even today, some dentists still use silver amalgam to restore teeth. However, their use has declined considerably over the years. This is due to their unaesthetic metallic appearance and their risk of causing mercury toxicity.
If you have one or more amalgam fillings in your mouth, you might be wondering if they are safe and whether you should get them removed. But no need to worry; this blog will address all your concerns about amalgam fillings and help you decide whether you should get them replaced. So, continue reading to learn more.
Should I Remove My Silver Fillings?
Silver amalgam fillings are quite durable. Moreover, if placed correctly, they don’t carry a considerable risk of mercury release. Therefore, according to the British Dental Association, there is no justification for removing one’s amalgam fillings if they aren’t damaged. However, if a mercury filling is fractured or chipped, it should be replaced as it can lead to significant mercury release. Furthermore, mercury fillings should also be removed in individuals with mercury allergies.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Amalgam Fillings?
There are three main disadvantages of mercury fillings:
- Aesthetics – mercury fillings have a distinct metallic appearance. That is why many patients do not want to get their teeth restored with these fillings, especially the front ones.
- Adverse Effects – as amalgam fillings contain mercury, concerns have been raised about the safety of these fillings. In fact, many countries are gradually phasing out amalgam use.
- Sacrificing Natural Tooth Structure – amalgam fillings do not bond directly to the natural tooth structure. Instead, a cavity has to be prepared inside the tooth so that the filling remains inside it. This requires sacrificing a lot of healthy tooth structure.
Do The Old Amalgam Dental Fillings Pose Any Health Risks?
No matter how old amalgam fillings are, they don’t threaten one’s health if they aren’t physically damaged. However, if an amalgam filling is cracked, it will allow mercury to leach and can cause untoward health effects. Therefore, only those old amalgam fillings should be removed that are damaged,
How Long Does It Take To Remove An Amalgam Filling?
The procedure of removing amalgam fillings is straightforward and doesn’t take much time. However, there are certain precautions dentists undertake before removing these fillings. For example, amalgam removal is performed under heavy-vacuum suction so that mercury vapour is neither inhaled nor ingested.
Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Safer Than Silver Fillings?
Tooth-coloured dental fillings offer several advantages over conventional silver amalgam fillings. First, they look lifelike and blend in with the neighbouring teeth. Next, they are considered safer than amalgam fillings. However, concerns were raised regarding the safety of these tooth-coloured filings due to the presence of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxic ingredient. However, research has shown that the amount of BPA in composites poses no risk.
Furthermore, newer composites are BPA-free. Therefore, tooth-coloured fillings can be considered a safe alternative to amalgam fillings. More importantly, if aesthetics are your prime concern regarding dental fillings, composites are better than amalgam.
Are There Any Disadvantages To Gold Fillings?
Did you know that gold filling could also be used for restoring teeth? Yes, gold fillings were commonly used a few decades ago. However, these fillings are not so common these days. The advantage of gold fillings was that there was no need to sacrifice natural tooth structure. On the other hand, their drawbacks include their high cost, a golden appearance considered unaesthetic by many, and limited expertise.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace Old Silver Fillings?
Removal of existing amalgam fillings is not very expensive. Typically, a silver amalgam filling will cost you around £100 and the cost of a composite filling would be around £170. However, the cost depends on various factors such as the number and location of the fillings to be removed, the dentist’s location and experience. So, it is only advisable to have one’s amalgam fillings removed if recommended by a dentist. Otherwise, non-damaged fillings need not be removed except for aesthetic purposes.
Replace Silver Fillings With White Near Me
If you feel self-conscious about your silver amalgam fillings, consider replacing them with tooth-coloured composite fillings. However, one should always visit an experienced and qualified dentist for such a procedure. Why? Because amalgam filling removal involves generating mercury aerosol, which should not be inhaled or ingested. Therefore, high-quality dental practices use heavy-duty suction during amalgam removal to ensure all the mercury is sucked in, keeping the patient and the dental team safe.
Furthermore, some amalgam fillings are very large. There are chances that the remaining tooth structure may fracture or get chipped during amalgam removal. An experienced dentist will consider this aspect beforehand and take care not to damage the tooth during the procedure. In other cases, if the remaining tooth structure after amalgam removal is very less, your dentist may consider reinforcing the composite filling with a porcelain crown.
If you are considering getting your amalgam fillings removed in Oxford, your best option is to visit Oxford Smile Clinic. Our aesthetic and restorative dentists specialise in amalgam fillings removal and placement of high-quality and aesthetically pleasing composite fillings. So, book a consultation with us right away to enjoy the beautiful and healthy smile you genuinely deserve.