Dental Tips Blog


Can You Change Out Your Metal Fillings for White Ones?

Posted in Fillings

Sick of having all of your silver dental work show when you smile? Multiple metal fillings are a thing of the past! You might be interested in changing out your existing dental work for some tooth-colored restorations that blend in better with your smile’s natural color.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Dental Fillings

Aside from appearances, there are several advantages that white composite fillings have over metal ones:

  • Bond with tooth enamel to create a stronger seal
  • Are more conservative than metal fillings
  • Mercury-free

Most dentists now prefer placing white fillings right from the start instead of metal ones. So, if you need any new restorations, you can certainly request to get ones that match your natural teeth.

Why You Should Wait to Change Out Your Dental Work

Despite the benefits of tooth-colored fillings, there’s no need to hurry to replace your current metal ones. Silver restorations in back teeth might still have several years left in them. It’s best to replace these fillings once they’ve started to show signs of wear.

Replacing dental fillings needlessly can weaken your tooth. Rather, it’s best to replace silver fillings with white ones only as necessary.

Are White Fillings Just as Good as Metal Ones?

Yes, tooth-colored dental fillings are durable and reliable. They can add many years to a tooth’s lifespan. Upgrading from silver restorations to white ones is usually a very worthwhile investment.

If you’d like a whiter and younger-looking smile, then replacing your metal fillings with white ones is a great way to do so. Check in with a restorative dentist first, however, to make sure that now is a good time to make the change.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518


Do You Have Mercury Poisoning from Metal Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings are made from an amalgam of materials including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. It’s that final element that has created quite a debate in the dental field over the past several years.

Now, more patients are now choosing white composite fillings over metal ones, and more dentist are offering only white restorations than ever before.

Why have silver amalgam fillings become so controversial?

Watching What You Put in Your Body

Mercury poisoning has been known to cause severe issues such as:

  • Muscle breakdown
  • Respiratory problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability and more

So why is such a controversial material used in dentistry? Metal fillings contain such a small amount of mercury because it allows the metal to remain soft and moldable. This way, a dentist can pack it into a tooth for a snug fit before it hardens.

Is Dental Amalgam Harmful?

Once the mercury is mixed and sets up in a filling, it’s really not going anywhere. Some studies have shown that traces of mercury can be released in vapors when the fillings wear down over time. But reviews of this research proves that the amounts are far too low to cause any problems.

Mercury toxicity happens when you’re exposed to this element for a long time. A true allergy to mercury is very rare with less than 100 confirmed cases. A couple dental fillings won’t make you sick, but a lifetime of mining the element without proper protection just might.

Amalgam Alternatives

Even though your current metal fillings should be just fine, your dentist would probably recommend that you consider updating them to mercury-free white ones. White composite restorations are much more conservative and esthetic. Talk with your dentist for more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Rock Point Family Dentistry
115 S Lakeline Blvd #200
Cedar Park, TX 78613


The Link Between Amalgam Fillings and Cancer

Posted in Fillings

Are amalgam (“metal” or “silver”) fillings linked with cancer? It’s important to have the information you need to make a smart decision about your restorative needs.

Why The Issue Comes Up

Amalgam fillings are a combination of metals such as silver, tin, copper, and mercury. People have worried for a long time that traces of mercury are released over time.

Mercury poisoning is a legitimate concern. Exposure to the element can cause problems to developing babies, small children, and the immune system, nervous system, eyes, kidneys, and skin of adults. There many other possible complications.

What the Facts Show

The bottom line is that there is too little mercury in dental fillings to have an effect. You are at far greater risk of mercury poisoning by eating seafood that contains high levels of the element.

The FDA has stated that metal fillings safe for people ages 6 and up. And the ADA (American Dental Association) states that there is no risk of cancer from mercury in amalgam fillings.

Would you like to check with the cancer experts? The ACS (American Cancer Society) also says that there is no scientifically measurable link between metal fillings and cancer of any kind.

Should You Be Worried?

Not necessarily. It’s up to you to make a decision you’re comfortable with!

Some folks like metal fillings for being faster, cheaper, and stronger. Others prefer the peace of mind they get from metal-free white fillings which are gradually phasing out metal fillings, anyway. Talk with your dentist about which restoration is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Mendota Springs Dentistry
6317 McKee Rd #500
Fitchurg, WI 53719
(608) 957-7709


Is It True That Metal Fillings Can Shock You?

Posted in Fillings

Shortly after you get a new metal filling, it happens: an unexplained zap that makes you jump in shock.

Or it could be a problem you’ve dealt with for years: the metal fork that comes in contact with your metal filling.

In either case, you’re likely experiencing what is called galvanic shock, or current.

What is “Galvanic Shock?”

Having metal in your mouth give you the chance to basically create a battery in your mouth.

That’s right, you can generate a low current of electricity with dental restorations!

This current is created by the difference in charges between different metals. When these metals are come in contact through saliva, your tongue, or directly against each other, they can send a little zing that you won’t soon forget!

This shock doesn’t happen between metal fillings made of the same material. It’s more likely to happen when you have a gold crown on one tooth and a silver amalgam filling on another.

What You Can Do

A lot of patients make the choice to have metal fillings placed because they tend to be faster and cheaper than composite fillings. But as long as there is a chance for two fillings of different metals to be touching, you run the risk of generating a galvanic current!

It may simply take time for a new metal filling to “calm down” in your mouth. Galvanic shock should go away within a couple days. But while this shock may only be annoying to some people, it’s a big problem for others.

If your metal fillings are bothering you, ask your dentist about replacing them with much more well-behaved white composite fillings!

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699


Replacing Metal Fillings – A Good Idea!

Posted in Fillings

Why might it be good for you to update all those old metal fillings with fresh ones? Consider a few solid reasons…

Out With the Old, in With the New

Some people are concerned about mercury poisoning from the mercury content in amalgam, or metal, fillings. While this trace amount isn’t really enough to cause problems, replacing the fillings with a non-metal material may give you some peace of mind.

Other “junk” to clean out could end up being more decayed enamel. Metal fillings tend to allow cavity-causing bacteria to sneak back in after a while. Decay advances unseen under metal fillings. By removing them, the dentist can clean out your tooth from any signs of decay.

Reinforce Your Teeth

Metal fillings expand and contract at a rate that’s faster than teeth. Over time, the expansion and contraction action with temperature change can put stress on the tooth. Small cracks can develop. Combine this with the fact that a cavity could also be weakening the tooth, and your tooth needs some new support!

A tooth-colored filling will help hold your tooth together much better than an old metal one will! If your tooth ends up needing more than just a filling, your dentist will help you take care of that, as well.

A Smile Worth Showing Off!

Lastly, those unsightly dark metal fillings can be updated with discreet white ones. Composite fillings are made from a material that is colored to exactly match your natural teeth. If you have fillings in the teeth that show when you smile, then updating them to white ones will make you less conscious about showing off your smile! Ask your dentist about the restorative options available to you in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Moores Chapel Dentistry
9115 Samlen Lane #105
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 389-9299


4 Reasons to Update Your Old Metal Fillings

Posted in Fillings

There are a few good reasons why you should update your metal fillings to new white ones. If even one of these reasons is important to you, then that definitely justifies having your old restorations replaced.

1. White (tooth colored) fillings are more aesthetically pleasing.

Gone are the days of having a metal grin! Fillings can now be done with a composite resin material that resembles the color of natural teeth. Unless someone was to look very closely, no one would ever be able to count how many fillings you have.

2. Recurrent decay is common underneath aged metal fillings.

With temperature change, the metal expands and contracts faster than teeth do. This results in very small gaps around the filling, allowing cavity-causing bacteria in. This decay often goes undetected on x-rays because the metal filling is hiding it. Updating your old metal restorations is the ideal opportunity to clean out any decay that has settled in over time.

3. Tooth colored fillings create a more secure bond with the tooth.

Metal fillings don’t chemically bind to teeth. A larger amount of tooth structure has to be removed to provide a mechanical anchor for a metal restoration. Composite fillings form a chemical bond with teeth. This means that they don’t require as much tooth material to be removed.

4. Metal fillings could possibly leak mercury into your system.

The effects of mercury on the body’s nervous system is of great concern to a lot of people. If this concerns you as well, then updating your old fillings could give you peace of mind.

To find out whether or not your existing metal fillings qualify to be upgraded to white ones, visit your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Pacific Sky Dental
6433 Mission St
Daly City, CA 94014
(650) 353-3130


4 Symptoms that Your Old Metal Filling is Wearing Out

Posted in Fillings

Years ago, metal fillings were commonly used to restore teeth that had cavities.  Now, composite or tooth-colored fillings are typically used for filling decayed teeth.  Since metal fillings are becoming “fillings of the past,” it is important to have your dentist specifically examine your old metal fillings to ensure they are sealed to your tooth properly and in good condition.

Since bacteria causes cavities and everyone has bacteria in their mouth, it is important for the dental filling to have a smooth surface with edges sealed to the tooth.  This will prevent the bacteria from leaking under the filling which would cause further decay.

Dentists will typically want to replace old metal fillings with the following symptoms:

  1. A cracked or chipped filling, which allows bacteria to leak under filling
  2. The filling’s edge is not sealed to tooth, allowing bacteria to leak and creating rough edges around the restoration
  3.  Worn out fillings, which can lead to dental decay around its margin
  4. Decay seen underneath a filling, with the help of an x-ray 

 Can metal fillings cause problems in my teeth?

Yes.  Since heat causes metal to expand, amalgam fillings expand with the heat in your mouth.  When this filling expansion occurs, this can cause fractures or cracks in your teeth.  At that point, a dental crown would need to be placed on the tooth to keep the fractured tooth together.

Do you have silver-colored fillings?  Visit your dentist, where you can have all of your metal fillings examined.  After your exam, your dentist can tell you what your best restoration options would be.

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384


How to Tell That Your Filling Needs to be Replaced

Posted in Fillings

If you have had one or more metal fillings placed over the years, it is important for you to know that they can become outdated and should be replaced to preserve as much of your tooth as possible. How do you know if a filling is on its last leg?

What You May Notice

You may notice some darkening around your old filling. Some of this stain is harmless, but it could also be the result of decay or leakage developing around the filling. You may even notice some tiny cracks around the filling. Another sure sign that the filling is causing tooth fracture or that there is a cavity growing would be sensitivity to biting or temperature. All of these signs are good reasons to have your fillings examined by your dentist.

What the Dentist Will Notice

If you don’t have any sensitivity in a tooth with an old filling, you likely would not notice anything wrong until it is too late. When you come in for regular exams, your dentist will check for signs such as darkening of the tooth and microfractures with the potential to spread. Also,  x-ray technology allows your dentist to see how the filling margins look inside and in-between teeth.

What You Can Do

Because tooth-colored fillings are made of a material that bonds chemically with the tooth, upgrading your old metal fillings to white ones will preserve more tooth structure and clean out any recurring decay. If the stress from an old metal filling has caused small fractures in the tooth, it may need a crown to protect it. Be proactive! Protect your teeth by having your existing metal fillings examined regularly by your dentist and be quick to update them, if advisable.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123


Should I Have My Metal Fillings Replaced?

Posted in Fillings

In the past, dental cavities were filled with amalgam, which was a filling material made with several metals, including mercury.  Although effective there are a number of drawbacks to these fillings, especially when compared to the composite resin filling material being used today.

First amalgam fillings contain mercury, which is generally considered a hazardous material.  Although he jury is still out on the long-term effects of these fillings, it is generally accepted that mercury is not a product that should be in a person’s body!  These fillings are also subject to failure, including breaking and cracking.  Obviously, a filling that fails can expose a tooth to further decay.

Finally, when a person with amalgam fillings speaks, the fillings are often visible, due to their metallic appearance.  As a result, more and more dentists are recommending to their patients that amalgam fillings be replaced with a composite resin filling, which contains no metals, is durable and are virtually invisible.

The safe and environmentally correct removal of amalgam fillings is not a straightforward dental procedure, as the dental team, as well as the patient, needs to be protected from any mercury vapors generated during the removal process.  In addition, specialized metal mercury filling removal techniques are required to reduce the creation of vapors.  Once the metal filling is removed, the dentist will need to dispose of the filling appropriately.  It is not as simple as flushing it down the toilet, since mercury is considered a hazardous material.

At your next dental checkup, speak with your dentist about your amalgam fillings and see what he recommends!

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers




3 Signs it’s Time to Change Out Your Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Just like tires on a car can get worn out and need to be changed out, so can your dental fillings. A common misconception is that fillings last forever. Unfortunately, they do not. Depending on the size, type and material of your filling, the longest some fillings last is 10-20 years. The exact expiration date isn’t etched in stone, but there are several warning signs that your dentist looks for to know when it’s time for your filling to be replaced. Here are 3 signs that you need to be aware of, and let your dentist know if you’re experiencing around old fillings:

#1 – The tooth is sensitive. Whether it’s to pressure, certain types of foods, or just an occasional twinge – you most likely need to have the filling changed out. This is usually due to leakage or new cavities around the margin of the filling, and bacteria entering into the tooth around the edges of the restoration.

#2 – Food is packing in areas around the tooth. If you’ used to not have any problems with food getting stuck in your teeth, but all of a sudden now you do – it’s likely that a part of your filling or tooth around the filling has broken. If you’re flossing after every meal due to a problem area collecting food, then it’s time to schedule an appointment.

#3 – You see tooth discoloration around your filling. Silver fillings can break down and cause a bluish-grey stain to leak into the enamel around your tooth (called an amalgam tattoo.) This is a sign that the amalgam is breaking down and should be replaced due to the fragility of the restoration.

In addition, if you have old amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about replacing them with tooth colored composite fillings.  Composite dental fillings look better and do not have the same health concerns that have been raised regarding amalgam fillings.

Posted on behalf of Mockingbird Dental

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