For those of us, who are in are 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s, chances are you have amalgam (silver) fillings. Many years ago, this was the standard type of filling dentists used to fill cavities. Over the years, with advances in dental technologies, these are no longer very popular, and have been replaced with tooth coloured fillings. Today, more dentists in North York prefer the tooth coloured fillings over amalgam fillings because they help strengthen the teeth and prevent several problems common with amalgam fillings.

If you currently have amalgam fillings, you should consider getting them replaced as part of your preventive dental care. The reasons to get them replaced include:

  1. Amalgam fillings cause teeth to crack. The reason for the cracks is because the fillings do not strengthen the teeth, but merely serve as a wedge to protect the tooth nerve and root, to cover the opening created when the cavity was originally removed. In addition, amalgam fillings do not adhere to the tooth. With tooth coloured fillings, they adhere to the tooth structure and help make the tooth stronger to avoid problems with cracking, chipping, and breaking.
  2. Amalgam fillings can change size and allow new cavities to form underneath. Amalgam is a metal and responds to changes in temperature. As a result, the fillings can expand and contract from hot and cold foods and liquids we consume. Over time, the fillings can actually shrink and leave small gaps allowing bacteria to get underneath the filling and create new cavities.
  3. Amalgam fillings make it difficult to notice tooth decay. Metal blocks out potential tooth decay on X-rays and makes it much harder to determine whether there are any cavities or bacterial infection underneath the existing filling. By the time a problem is actually noticeable, like a toothache, it requires much more extensive work to correct, such as a root canal.
  4. Amalgam fillings can become loose and fall out. Since the metal was packed into the tooth, and does not adhere to the tooth structure, the fillings can become loose and fall out of the tooth. Sometimes the filling is even pulled out when eating certain types of foods or snacks.
  5. Amalgam fillings hides cracks on X-rays. Cracks in the tooth structure are hidden in X-rays on teeth that have amalgam fillings. This can lead to more complex issues, like the tooth splitting in half, right down to the nerve. Cracks in teeth with amalgam fillings normally occur without any warning.

Replacing amalgam fillings with tooth coloured fillings helps make it easier for your North York dentist to discover potential dental problems, cavities, and tooth cracks before they become major issues. Some people are more proactive about replacing their amalgam fillings and choose to get all of them replaced at once. Other people select the teeth that have the biggest risks and do those first, or one section of the mouth, and then work on the other areas later.

Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to get amalgam fillings replaced. Ideally, you should get the biggest amalgam fillings replaced first, since these tend to cause the most problems. In addition, it is recommended to start with the molars, since these teeth exert the most force when we bite down and the fillings are typically bigger. For more information about getting your amalgam fillings replaced with tooth coloured ones, contact Dr. Carol Waldman and her professional staff at 416-445-600 to schedule a consultation appointment. We specialize in general dentistry, periodontal therapies, and cosmetic dentistry, and even offer late afternoon and evening appointments to fit with your busy schedule.