Silver Teeth Kids: Why Do Kids Get Silver Teeth?

Published on: May 14, 2023
A little girl holding a banana in front of her face and covering her mouth with it.

Have you ever wondered, “Why do kids get silver teeth?” When a child needs a tooth repair, there is a good chance that they will receive silver-colored restorations to fix their teeth. If you see silver teeth kids, there is a good chance they needed cavities removed or had some other tooth damage.

Kids begin receiving their first baby teeth in the first year and continue to receive baby teeth during their first few years. By the age of five or six, they begin to lose these baby teeth and their adult teeth will emerge. In the meantime, these baby teeth may have issues that need to be repaired.

When tooth decay, cracks, chips or infections occur with baby teeth, it is important to have these teeth repaired. Even though they will fall out in a few years, they are needed to hold the place for the adult tooth. They also are vital for chewing and proper speech patterns.

Baby teeth are usually repaired with metal or silver-colored restorations. These are used to protect the teeth and keep them functional until the adult teeth arrive. But this is why you may see some silver teeth kids while others have their original white teeth.

What Are Silver-Colored Restorations?

There are a few different dental restorations and materials that may be used for repairing children’s teeth. The most common is dental amalgam, which is a filling material made from a combination of metals. This material is used to fill small cavities on the teeth once the decay is removed.

Another reason you see silver teeth kids is many have a silver crown tooth. Crowns, commonly called caps, are used to cover a broken or damaged tooth that cannot be repaired with fillings. If decay is too widespread or the tooth is cracked, a silver crown may be added, especially on molars.

Why Do Children’s Teeth Turn Silver?

Not only are the dental restorations like fillings that are used for children silver, but they can turn the color of the teeth a gray or silver color. Children’s teeth tend to be more porous and absorb the color from their fillings, turning the rest of the tooth a silver color over time.

Are Silver Restorations for Kids Safe?

Amalgam and silver crowns have been used for children for many years. The first silver-colored fillings were used in the early 1800s and they continue to be used today. Amalgam can contain elemental mercury, but this usually stays within the filling and does not get absorbed into the body.

Silver crowns and fillings are FDA-approved for use on children and adults for tooth repairs. They are usually chosen over white-colored or resin fillings and porcelain crowns because they are less expensive. Since baby teeth do fall out, many parents choose the less expensive silver restorations.

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Why Do Only Some Kids Have Silver Teeth?

Kids with silver teeth have had dental repairs that changed the color of their smile. If a child does not get cavities or damage their teeth, they will continue to stay white. It is also possible to keep a child’s smile white with the use of composite fillings or white crowns for repairs.

Can Kids Have White Fillings and Crowns?

Children can receive white fillings if their parents choose to pay for the higher cost of these procedures. Some parents are concerned about the mercury in amalgam and want their children to have resin restoration versus silver amalgam. It can also create a healthier and more attractive smile.

Porcelain or white crowns are also an option for children. For front teeth that need a crown or some of the molars that are not lost until ages 10-12, white crowns may be preferrable. It depends on whether the parents are willing to pay the higher cost of porcelain or other white crown materials.

Will Silver Fillings and Crowns Affect Adult Teeth?

Kids with silver teeth will not have silver teeth forever. When their baby teeth with silver fillings or crowns fall out, brand-new white teeth will emerge. These teeth can stay white by keeping them free from decay and protecting them from damage or using white restorations for repairs.
Two cheerful schoolgirls showing nice white teeth in their smiles.
Most teens and adults prefer white restorations for their adult teeth. While they are more expensive, they can be color matched to the surrounding teeth to ensure the tooth blends in and keeps the smile white. Composite resin fillings and porcelain crowns are available at most dentists.

Silver teeth kids have baby teeth that received amalgam fillings or have a silver crown tooth. If your child needs a filling or cap, you can ask your dentist about the different options and costs of silver versus white restorations to determine which is best for your kid’s smile.

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