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Over the past few years, dental treatment has made great advancements. However, there are still reminders of outdated treatments in the mouths of plenty. Perhaps nothing exemplifies this more than silver (amalgam) fillings.

What are silver fillings?

Before and after replacement of silver (amalgam) fillings.

Years ago, fillings were made of an amalgam of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other trace elements. As you may know, mercury is a highly-toxic element for humans, and should be avoided at all costs. That being said, silver fillings were the pinnacle of technology at one point. As research and materials have advanced, teeth are now restored with much healthier and longer-lasting restorations.

What should I do if I have silver fillings?

Many of you reading this article may be thinking, “wait a minute… I have silver fillings!”  Do not worry, you are not alone! This is actually a question we often hear at our office.

The answer to whether or not you should change your silver fillings is typically, “no”.

Although mercury is toxic, it can often be more dangerous/toxic to remove silver fillings, especially if they are otherwise free of defects. That being said, every case is different. Sometimes older fillings have serious cracks, or there are cracks in the surrounding tooth structure. In these cases, it may be advised to remove the filling to evaluate the tooth. Likewise, sometimes older fillings can have recurrent cavities, or can just be very unsightly and be a nuisance. However, as we said, there are also many cases where a decades-old silver filling is very successful- in which case we may want to leave it alone. 

If you’re concerned about your silver fillings, our advice is to consult your dentist about what you should do!