Thinking of Replacing Your Old Silver Fillings With White Ones?… Be Careful!

What I’ve learned:
Looking at teeth using a dental mirror. If you’re going to have your old silver fillings replaced with nice white fillings (also known as “composite fillings”, “porcelain fillings” or “tooth colored fillings”), be prepared for a series of Crowns and Root Canals in your immediate future.

Here’s how things went for me…

I had good dental insurance, so I thought I’d take the time to replace all of those old silver fillings that I’d had since childhood with nice new white fillings.

The goal: No more mouth-full-of-silver whenever I smiled big.

The reality: Serious dental work in every quadrant of my mouth.

 

I didn’t do it because I was concerned about the amount of mercury in silver fillings.

And it wasn’t purely out of vanity that I chose to have all of my silver fillings replaced.

It was a well-thought out decision that I arrived at with the help of my dentist (whom I adore).

 

Why I Decided To Switch Out My Silver Fillings For White Ones

You see, two of my teeth had started to turn gray from the silver seeping through the tooth enamel itself. This is normal and natural — particularly with silver amalgam fillings from the 1970’s.

The problem was those “gray teeth” were in the front of my mouth, and as a result, it was starting to look like those teeth were dead or something. It wasn’t attractive, to say the least.

I’d had my eye on those two teeth for years, and I watched as the gray color became progressively darker.

In all, I had 7 silver fillings that needed to be replaced. The dentist decided to do them on two different days, that way only one side of my mouth would be numbed at a time.

As part of the process of removing the old silver fillings, 4 of my teeth had to be drilled practically down to the nub to make room for the new white fillings.

The other 3 had to be drilled down so far that they barely even resembled teeth anymore; they required Crowns.

 

Things I’ve Since Learned About Silver vs White Fillings

These are things that I’ve learned from the many different dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants who have had their hands in my mouth over the course of the past 11 months trying to fix this mess!…

  • Back in the 70’s, dentists used to drill out way more “good” tooth than they needed to. They didn’t know better. That was just the way everyone did fillings at that time.
  • Add to this the fact that when you’re replacing fillings, you have to first drill out all the old filling, plus a little more. This is to make sure you’ve got a good surface on which to adhere the new filling. (The same would be true with any form of dental work on a tooth with pre-existing dental work.)
  • Whenever you drill that much tooth away, you’re opening up a whole new set of problems. Specifically… any cracks, nerve issues, hidden fractures, etc.

 

I look at it like this… In my case, after 30+ years of living with the same silver fillings (and having no other dental work besides fillings all those years), all of my teeth had comfortably found their own places inside my mouth. The nooks & crannies were all relative to one another, and everything was harmonious. But when I changed the shape, the contents, or the neighbor of one tooth (or, in my case 7 teeth!), then it messed up overall environment inside my mouth. All of the tiny changes that took place as a result of replacing the fillings forced my teeth to then re-settle and find a new “comfort zone” inside my mouth. Plus, all that “hollowing out” of my previously silver-filled teeth made those teeth extra vulnerable. Out of the blue, those teeth were now exposed to air, and gaps, and all-new (white) filling material. Not to mention the fact that the nerves inside those teeth had been awakened from their deep sleep.

 

  • Then there’s the fact that white porcelain fillings have other disadvantages like they don’t seal the cavity as well, and they may also irritate the existing nerve within a tooth.
  • To top it all off… I’m told that white porcelain fillings don’t last as long either. Get this: They need to be replaced every few years! I wish I’d know that before I switched out every filling in my mouth!!!

 

I only wish I’d read this first! (This too.)

 

The Story Doesn’t End There…

UPDATE #1: The Mercury in Your Mouth: The Truth About Silver Fillings book.Well, my story actually got much crazier. I had to get a series of crowns (I’ve had 3… or 4… actually, I’ve lost count) and root canals. Neither of which is very scary — unless things go wrong.

As a result of all this change of fillings, I had to have 4 root canals in less than 6 months — and one of them “went wrong”. The dentist (a different dentist than the one who did my fillings) simply didn’t get every bit of the root or nerve out of one tooth, so decay and pain were a huge problem for many long weeks. In the end, I had to have a second root canal on that same tooth! This time, I had to go to a different dental specialist who could “undo” the root canal that had previously been done (they use “permanent” cement-type sealants!), then go in deeper and get the remaining nerve.

That still resulted in many months (not weeks) of pain for some reason. And to this day, I have still a lot of sensitivity in that tooth. How… when I supposedly don’t have any nerve left in that tooth, I don’t understand. But the feeling is there, trust me.

Looks like I’m not the only one this has happened to!. Heck, even Johnny Depp had to have a double root canal during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean!

 

UPDATE #2: I shouldn’t be so quick to say that all who switch their silver fillings for white ones are doing so because they want to look better. I did it for that reason, but there are reasons to replace your silver fillings that have nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with the levels of mercury found inside silver fillings — and therefore inside your body — yes, very close to your brain! (See videos of this mom’s journey after learning the danger associated with the amalgam fillings inside her mouth.)

 

UPDATE #3: Here’s another woman’s personal updates after replacing her amalgam fillings with composites: Part I, Part II, Part III.

 

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Pascale

    Your story is so sad, and it’s unfortunate I hear it everyday.  I work in a dental office, a very small private plate and I hear people’s nightmare stories everyday.  It’s sad really what dentistry has become these days.  Your dentist that asked you to change your fillings was doing the right thing, more than likely he/she had to drill further because there was decay under those black fillings and it was a matter of time before your root canals were needed.  Or a fracture, which is very common with black fillings.  A good caring dentist would recommend that you replace those.  Maybe you should look at the positive side.  You ended up with a few root canals and not all 7 because if you would’ve kept the black fillings 90% would’ve become root canals 98% of the time, when black fillings are removed, huge decay is found under them, how fast it grows we don’t know, but it does grow and doesn’t go away by itself, I know it sounds terrible that you didn’t have all this trouble before, but the trouble you went through was well worth it in the long run.  Nice story.

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us regarding the replacement of black fillings. Interesting points you made! Thx

    • guest

      I’m sorry, but this is rubbish! Bacteria grows a lot less on amalgam fillings (why do you call them black fillings if you in a dental office?). On the other hand, bacteria grows very well on composite and porcelain fillings. This means that cavities, which are caused by bacteria, grows a lot faster around white fillings.

      You say it is well worth it on the long run? That just doesn’t make any sense at all. You have no idea of knowing how long those fillings would have lasted. Amalgam fillings have the potential of lasting very, very long. White fillings do not.

  • Kristinasilk

    I’m a poster child of this situation.  I had my silver fillings replaced with porcelain.  The new weaker filling caused leaks and a big mess.  Root canals and crowns ensued.. much$$  .. it’s been a hassle!  I’d say to anyone,, just keep the silver, if it’s working, don’t fix it:)

  • guest

    Thanks for the story! I was looking up info about this because I have good dental insurance now and wanted to take advantage of it. I hate the way my silver surface fillings become an eyesore to me when I laugh out loud and such. But after reading this, maybe they aren’t as bad as it seems. Anyhow, at least I know some background about it when I do bring it up to discuss with my dentist. Major thanks!

  • barb

    Pascale, are you saying that one should opt for the white fillings vs. silver on the back teeth, if given a choice?  I have to make that decision for a 16 year old boy who has diabetes.

  • Suz

    Thank you for sharing this story. Not unlike my own dental nightmare, in what was previously a perfectly healthy mouth for 44 yrs (other than the fillings I got in childhood). Now enduring a world of chronic pain, sensitivity, expensive crowns, root canals, etc…. Is this just part of getting old?

  • Cceece

    i really enjoyed really this. I, myself wanted to change all my silver fillings for white fillings also. but after reading this. i am going to reconsider and not even go for it. I am going to think about it before i even get a consultation. thanks for writing this. i really do appreciate it!

  • denisee

    i was just about to replace these 20 yr old silver fillings…but changed my mind,,you know they arent really that bad after all….but there is a small hole on the side of the one molar i wonder if the dentist will demand to redo the whole filling on top also to fill the side one

    • Sequita

      i have had my silver fillings replaced with the white one and I never had trouble before that now, i have had so many problems with my teeth not to mention the pain, multiple trips to the ER because the pain was so bad now i have to have Oral Surgery to get those Pretty white fillings out of 8 Teeth (I’m losing all 8 teeth)  because of those pretty white fillings, I had them put in 2 years ago and it has been nothing but pain and suffering ever since, if only i could go back again I would have never replaced my silver ones.

  • Radia

    Wow thank you so much for sharing your stories I was considering going for the pretty white fillings as when I laugh out loud I am always aware of the old silver fillings. But like they say if it’s not broken why try and fix it.

  • Squeela1984

    my dentist didn’t have to file my teeth down when i replaced my silver with white fillings!!  Your silver fillings must’ve been filling almost the whole tooth………..
    anyways mine have been replaced and no issue….not even the one from 17 years ago (i was a kid)

  • soozys1902

    Thought I would just add some information. If I had of known what I feel and know now I would have never opted for a white filling. Back in febuary I was told I needed my first two fillings, I’m 23. One I was told was only a spot filling on a top molar and one in my first right bottom molar and was told it was not deep. I opted right away for a white filling in my bottom molar, she didn’t even need to ask.

    Two weeks after I had my fillings done I would wake up with a slight dull pain in my bottom molar when I was biting down, this went away over time. A couple of weeks later I bit into something and I had a big massive shock in my tooth this did gratualy get better but never went away, so I decided a trip to my dentist would be good. She told me that I may be grinding at night and she then went on to check my bit and it was ok but she shaved my filling down anyway. She sent me on my way telling me she wasn’t worried as it was not deep and to come back to her if it didn’t get better. It did slightly get better but never went back to normal.

    On to my next visit to the dentist three weeks after that, she took out the filling and told me it was deep after all and it was even deeper than before and that I had a slight crack in my tooth. She filled it back up and again sent me on my way saying if it didn’t get better I would need root canal treatment and I don’t think she was going to give me a crown.

    Two weeks on now and im in pain, going to see another more experienced dentist on monday. My tooth hurts to poke, rub my finger over, chewing gum and touching it with my tongue (its like a pressure building pain that lasts for about a minute) if i leave it alone completely with no touching etc its fine. But by now I know im getting the root canal treatment which im heart scared of, what if it doesnt work etc.

    I never thought after one simple filling it would come to this, I’ve always looked after my teeth and for this to come to me so young scares me. I know now from here on in it will be amalgam only for me and vanity will never come first. LESSON LEARNED

  • Bryon Satterfield

         I’m Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD.  I have practiced in The Woodlands, Texas for 32 years. I taught at the UT Dental School for 16 years, while practicing.  I’m writing my blog today about replacing amalgam fillings.  I’m VERY sorry to hear about all of your bad stories about replacing amalgam filling with white composite filling material.  I don’t know how big your original amalgams were or the strength of the teeth that held them.  I replace amalgam fillings regularly.  I don’t place amalgams anymore.  I just don’t have the problems that you all described.  I use a self-etching bonding adhesive with an international reputation for NO SENSITIVITY.  I can’t remember tha last time someone told me their new filling was sensitive.  Most bonding adhesives are total etch and cause sensitivity frequently.  They aren’t all the same.    I have seen every complication you all described- some at the Dental School while teaching.   Bottom line:  I would say the cause, besides the original decay, was the original amalgam filling.  I was instructed in dental school to have bulk in amalgam fillings because they were not strong enough when too small.  There was more big decay back in the ’70’s than now, too- so fillings were bigger.  They undermined cusps.  It was unavoidable.  Amalgams expand over years and crack teeth.  The original decay and amalgam is the root cause of problems later requiring crowns and root canals.  Small amalgams should be replaced with no problem, not even temporary, minor sensitivity.    After being loyal to amalgams for 30 years, letting sleeping dogs lie, I have recently decided that amalgams ought to be replaced.  Bonded composite is better technology than amalgams dating from the early 1900’s.  Amalgams aren’t bonded, composites are; this allows teeth to remain stronger.  They have to be done correctly with close attention to detail.  I feel you have to be a better dentist to place an excellent composite filling than to place an excellent amalgam.  We certainly have different skill levels as dentists – student’s abilities are dramatically varied.   Amalgams leak.  Most of my patient’s silver fillings are now 20-40 years old.  When I remove amalgams, most have turned the tooth underneath extremely black.  It is NOT decay- it is hard and solid tooth structure. I leave it stained and bond to it, to avoid getting any closer to the nerve.  I have been doing this for literally 25 years and IT WORKS.  No sensitivity.  I can’t remember a root canal being required.  IF a new dentist was taking out all that stained but good tooth structure, that might be the problem.  I figured this out- not every dentist would.  I want fillings bonded and sealed, not leaking.  The right composite wears equally compared to amalgam.  I’m not planning on ever replacing any of my composite filings- unless something new happens.  Composites can be resurfaced and re-sealed, leaving the main filling alone-if that were ever necessary.   I think I just wrote my blog about replacing amalgams.  There’s more, but I do have to get to WordPress to write my blog.  If you want to discuss any of this, email me personally at docs@docsatterfield.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/annracerallen Anne Racer Allen

      if my husband has cracks coming off the silver amalgams should he have crowns? I like the fact you don’t go below the black staining meaning take it out, makes sense!

  • bubberganush

    The one thing i noticed here is that there is no mention of a discussion between patient and dentist before the procedure. Or a written consent form with the risks of undertaking such a procedure. Particularly when is was not essential. Is this because you have not mentioned it or was it not done?

    But the author seems to have gone along happily have root canal after root canal. Which make most people upset at the thought much less having to pay for it. Is this because she knew this was a risk she was willing to take for vanity and has to accept it now?

  • kris

    Keep your silver fillings! I just got my last one replaced and now I cannot chew on that side of my mouth at all (my previous favored side). I had contacted the dentist and she said to give it a little while to calm down. It has been about 2 weeks, but I’m never going back. I’ll live with the pain. The last thing I want is a root canal and crown–because I cannot afford it! I had 5 fillings total in my life; I brush my teeth 3 times a day, floss every night and use a fluoride rinse and all–didn’t stop me from getting cavities (I’m 34). But the point is–ever since that silver filling was replaced (which did not have a cavity mind you, she just had that side of my mouth numbed already) I’ve had nothing but problems. I got horribly sick (sore throat, fever, etc…) that even antibiotics couldn’t help. I feel awful all the time and run down. I plan on finding another dentist, and I am going to see what else they can do besides a root canal option, because it’s just so expensive, and I’m worried it will cause even more problems since it’s on my big molar I use to chew (well used to). Any advice would be great!?! Can she just redo the filling?

  • Looney

    Hi. Thank you for sharing. I’m 42 years old and I opted to have my amalgam fillings I got back in the 70’s switched out for white ones due to the mercury content in the amalgam fillings. I had 3 on my bottom left side switched, one of which was my molar and I still have one on my right bottom molar that hasn’t been changed yet. My dentist chose to do one side at at time. Thank goodness. That was 2 weeks ago and I haven’t been able to sleep much since. Forget about lying flat, I have to sit propped up in bed and I eventually pass out from sleep deprivation. My dentist put me on penicillin 4 days ago but it’s not helping. I went in yesterday due to this pain and he just said that I have an ulcer on my gum. He seemed surprised that I am having problems and said that my teeth look fine and that the fillings sealed. I also have ulcers on my tongue. My whole jaw hurts and I have intermittent ear pain on my left side as well. I feel like I’ve been punched by Mike Tyson. If a root canal will make this stop, then sign me up. This is sheer agony. I didn’t have any issues prior to this. I go back to the dentist next week for a follow-up. Judging by what I’ve read so far, I’m in for a long ride. I am trying to stay positive and hopeful. Prayer helps, too. I’m very sorry for all who have been through this. And again, thanks for sharing. It’s bittersweet to know that I’m not alone, nor am I crazy.

  • peter

    Dentistry is just a money making scam now that leeds university has invented the p11/4 peptide that can heal teeth without drilling an filling its time these arseholes are consigned to the dole queue were they belong!!!

  • hollie

    I have had two white crowns in the front.of my mouth for ten years.Now the black is showing more then ever at the top of my gums.What does that mean

  • Janet244

    When they replace a filing – do they need to remove *more* of the o.k. tooth when they are replacing with composite vs amalgam? I’m not entirely clear on this, from the story. The writer says the dentist removes more “good” tooth. And this is part of the argument against replacing with composite. Does the dentist remove more “good” tooth for a composite replacement? Vs an amalgam replacement?

    Also – I am looking at various articles on the web about the pros and cons of these two fillings. One important pro for amalgam appears to be the length of time it lasts compared to composite. However, composites are reportedly improving. Still, I can’t get a current statistic on this information. Does anyone have a “life length comparison” that is 2008 and older? From a peer reviewed study? Seems that figures from 1990 are pretty old in this day and age …

    Lastly, I am understanding that composites “strengthen” the tooth – which is a reported advantage over amalgam. Yet the amalgam is “stronger” ITO biting – for example, back teeth (and even though composites can now be used in the back). Yet then they talk about amalgams contributing to “fractures.” So which is stronger then? Also, for a back tooth, are there recommendations for people who grind their teeth at night, on occasion?

    Another composite “con” I’m understanding from different articles (and anyone feel free to correct me) – and apart from cost and shelf-life – are that the composites don’t seal as well, and therefore, you can develop a cavity below the filing .. ? Is that right?

    I appreciate this article because my interest is in REPLACING a filing that is an older amalgam (though not quite as old as the writer’s). I think mine is from the eighties. And I may have to deal with a series of these replacements eventually .. all amalgam that seem to have worked fine in back teeth. That is, I am looking to find out if there are any additional pros and cons in one’s choices between the two kinds of filings *simply because* you are replacing the filing – and that in itself influences the preferability of one over the other – and quite apart from the mercury argument.

    If anyone can respond to my questions, I appreciate it! I have to make my own *first* choice soon …

    Thanks again for the article!

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      To answer your first question, the dentist needs to remove “more” of the tooth regardless of whether you’re going with an amalgam or composite filling.

  • Smilie

    I must agree that once I removed all of my silver fillings…one by one the new pretty white fillings began to dislodge from the places that I once had the silver fillings for years and most of my back teeth had those silver fillings. After all my dental work where I had all the silver fillings removed, my mouth was so sensitive that brushing my teeth was very painful. I had sensitive teeth before that and most of my childhood, especially after having braces and four permanent teeth that were pulled in order to make room for all of my crooked teeth. I wanted to have the white fillings for cosmetic and health reasons (no mercury) and literally within six months I lost my first new white filling and under the area which was drilled was a bigger hole than what I would assume were the silver fillings were. Now I am going through root canals and crowns because I did not have the money to go to the dentist anymore after I spent all this money in the first place. I also developed other health problems once the silver (mercury) was removed…I noticed that other areas of my body ached more. I also had the worst sort of jaw and ear pain. I would never recommend getting crowns unless absolutely necessary…the same goes with veneers. I always hated my teeth since I was a young child and as an adult approaching 30 I decided to remove those dreaded silver fillings and I paid good money to do so. Upon my last visit I drove the dentist appointment and the dentist was not even there for the exam (although I was charged for an exam by the dentist….not some hygenist). I also have Zoom whitening done and that was the most painful hour and I remember thinking that it was supposed to feel that way. But the person who did the whitening got all of the whitening gel on my gums. Now my teeth and gums were fine prior to all of this with the except I lost a one silver filling and went to the dentist to have that taken care of which is when I decided to replace those “ugly” silver fillings from years ago with the new white fillings. I feel that all of this dental work greatly affected my health in other ways…physically, emotionally, psychologically and of course financially.

    Do your research before choosing a dentist. I would recommend that first and then I would not ever take what that dentist says as the only answer or option.

    I am sure I was a dentist’s dream since I always loved sugar and soda when I was a child. And of course I love bubble gum…which is not good for dental work at all…especially the jaw.

    Avoid antidepressants or other medications that dry your mouth out like over the counter diet pills as well because I always took diet pills with ephedra like substances with lots of caffeine.

    The price I paid to be what I thought was “pretty”…to be skinny and white teeth…has left me without much of a smile when I think of the pain I have gone through and still experience.

    Now that I have had my moment on this soapbox, I think I will go brush my teeth!

  • paperpearl

    I am on this site today after a trip to have my teeth cleaned. Six months ago, as required when I saw my new dentist, I had all the intake exams and digital photos, xrays, etc. and was encouraged to have my silver fillings replaced. I was shown remarkably detailed photos of the filled teeth, with tiny but visible fissures on them, and I was told these teeth will eventually crack open and may fall apart in my mouth, resulting in root canals, crowns, etc. Today I spoke only with the young woman who cleaned my teeth. She insisted that the fissures have gotten larger in the last six months and I need to have the amalgam fillings removed and replaced with superior composite bonding material. (No mention that the new filling material is not expected to last more than 5 years or so.) She did say that amalgam fillings only last 10 to 20 years. I’m 65 and have had my many amalgam fillings with no trouble since I was a preteen. Now I have an appointment for next month to have one side of my mouth done first.

    After reading here, I’m quite convinced that it’s better to leave well-enough alone. At my age I think I’ll just wait and see what happens. The biggest problem I have with this decision is that I suspect my new young dentist and her staff will not appreciate that I don’t want to take their advice. And I may well have a tooth break or develop a problem in the future. Then will I be treated with “you should have listened to me” disapproval? Most of the older dentists in my area are not taking new patients. I hope it all works out okay.

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      I agree with you. I would leave well enough alone… for now. If there’s not a current problem, then I would wait until there IS a problem to deal with those silver fillings. Which may be NEVER! :-D And I know what you mean about dentists not taking new patients. But I’ve learned firsthand (myself, and a separate instance with a friend of mine) that even dentists who aren’t taking new patients WILL take new patients when there’s a dental emergency. So, if your teeth are in relatively good condition then I think I’d just wait it out. Just my 2-cents.

  • Will Smith

    My wife just had her amalgams replaced with white composite fillings about a month ago due to the dentist recomendation. He told her the old amalgam fillings were not healthy so she had the procedure done. Now she is in severe pain a month later. She just got back from the same dentist today to have him check up on the pain she is having and all he could recommend are pain killers and to get a (ROOT CANAL) done. The root canal will cost her $1700 out of pocket. He said he was giving it to her at a discounted price because her insurance wont cover it. After reading all of these similar situations we are so mad. We feel like we have been taken advantage of. These dentist should be held financially accountable for doing these procedures knowing the risk. We are going back to his office next week to show him documentation of all of the problems with this procedure other people are having. The least he could do is fix what he messed up free of charge. If not we are getting a lawyer involved and looking at our options. Does anyone have a better solution to get this problem solved other than a root canal? Until then she is probably going to be in a lot of pain have may miss some work.

  • Will Smith

    Oh and one more thing, if the dentist had warned her that having her silver fillings replaced could cause her to need a root canal we would have never agreed to have the procedure done.

  • Elizabeth Pope

    So glad I found this… I had two of my silver fillings replaced on the bottom right side of my mouth ( per dentist orders) Shortly after one needed a root canal and a crown, now the other one does as well!!!! I take good care if my teeth so am frustrated at all of this.. I thought today maybe it has to do with them changing my fillings… FULLY believe that now!!! :/

    • MonicaQ

      I am in the root canal process right now, I just have to go back for my crown. During this process, The dentist mentioned getting my silver fillings replace because I am having the “graying” issue with the tooth next to the tooth with the filling. I thought to myself “that would make my smile prettier” I got my silver fillings at 13 and I am now 32 I have not had any issues besides the graying of the back tooth. I am so happy I found this site because I think I am going to leave “well enough” alone too. Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and has saved many of us potentially a lot of money and pain. I appreciate it :-)

  • Jasmin Days

    I went to dentists office Friday afternoon and he said I needed a root canal from looking at xray. Found out I do not root canal and drilled my back tooth down to nothing and put a temporary on it. In a couple of weeks, I go back and get the permanent tooth. What bothers me is that dentist asked me would I mind if the tooth had silver running down it and am I vain, does anyone know about this? Thanks

    • Lloyd

      I work at a dental clinic and would like to comment on some of these issues. Firstly, when replacing amalgam fillings, there is almost ALWAYS some risk of a root canal being necessary, more so if the filling is large/deep. This is because when removing the amalgam, there is always decay underneath the amalgam (which has occured as the years have passed). So, the dentist must take out not only the amalgam but also all of the bad part (underlying decay), cleaning and disinfecting the tooth structure that has been affected by the amalgam in order to safely place a new restoration, whether it be composite or ceramic/porcelain. There are also certain protocols that must be followed when removing amalgam due to mercury vapour so make sure you ask your dentist about that. A biological dentist often specializes in this area of amalgam removal, but there aren’t many of them around but it is worth looking and asking for. Nowadays, patients demand more and while many dentists remove amalgam, take impressions, wait for lab work, fit you with temporaries and tell you to come back in two weeks etc etc… there is now a new system that uses 3D CAD CAM technology and can do the whole process from start to finish in about 1 hour, creating highly accurate restorations with no need for a second appointment weeks later. Here’s a short video that might help explain this new system better, from a dentist in Lima.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F_GpS0z6qs