Silver or amalgam fillings have been around for quite a long time and many dentists still use amalgam for fillings today. At Oakwood Dental, we use composite resin tooth-colored fillings instead of amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made with a combination of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and other trace metals which are all mixed together to form an alloy and then packed into a prepared tooth. Amalgam fillings are not bonded to your teeth the way composite fillings are, therefore they do not strengthen teeth that have been weakened by chipping or decay that has caused a loss of healthy tooth structure. Over time, the amalgam filling will expand and contract with hot and cold foods, which can lead to fractures in the surrounding tooth structure, inviting decay and further damage in the tooth. At Oakwood Dental, we only use composite restorations for fillings because we can complete the restoration with a more conservative and esthetically pleasing result.
When to Replace an Amalgam Filling
With the heightened public concern about the safety of amalgam, the question often arises of whether or not amalgam fillings should be replaced with the more composite fillings. Dr. Jones does not advise changing any old amalgam fillings with composite ones unless there are specific reasons that warrant the replacement. Signs of chipping, cracking, decay, or poor margins are all good reasons to replace any type of filling. If you are concerned about your silver fillings due to health or esthetic concerns, Dr. Jones can let you know your treatment options so you can decide what is best for you.