If you previously received metal fillings, you might not see any need to switch them out. After all, your dentist thought they were good enough at the time of treatment. Why should you bother with new ones at this point? Well, science has since learned that these amalgam fillings have serious problems. Plus, better, tooth-colored models are now available. To learn more, here’s a summary of why to replace metal fillings with updated versions.
Why Get Rid of My Metal Fillings?
Metal fillings do fill the empty spaces left by cavities and such. However, their materials have several other issues, such as:
They Contain Mercury
Amalgam fillings are made from various metals, including mercury. As it turns out, the latter is toxic to the human body.
A 2016 study found that people with over eight metal fillings may develop “mercury toxicity.” This condition, which involves increased mercury levels in your blood, can lead to brain, heart, kidney, and immune system damage.
They Can Cause Allergies
Some people are allergic to parts of metal fillings, particularly mercury, copper, silver, or tin. The resulting reaction can result in oral lesions and other harmful symptoms.
They Don’t Look Natural
Unfortunately, metal fillings tend to be shiny and eye-catching. That being the case, they don’t blend well with your teeth and can be visually distracting.
The Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Given the above disadvantages, dentists today often use tooth-colored fillings. Unlike metal ones, these tend to have prominent benefits like:
- Preserved Tooth Structure – Metal fillings require dentists to remove more of your natural tooth’s structure. In contrast, tooth-colored ones leave more of your pearly white intact. The latter kinds are biocompatible, forming a stronger bond to the tooth than amalgam fillings.
- Lifelike Appearance – As their name suggests, tooth-colored fillings match the shade of your enamel. Therefore, they blend seamlessly with your remaining teeth. Most can’t even tell the difference between them and the rest of your smile, so you can be at ease when smiling.
- Lack of Metal – Unlike mercury, the resin in tooth-colored fillings doesn’t have harmful effects on your body. For that reason, most consider them a very safe way to treat cavities and similar conditions.
As you can see, there’s more reason to replace metal fillings than to stick with them. Talk to your local dentist about getting new ones that look and work better for your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury is a dentist based in Tyler, TX, having earned his DDS from the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. His specialties are preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, not to mention emergency dental treatments. He is also a certified provider of oral conscious sedation and Six-Month Smiles. Dr. Stansbury currently practices at Stansbury Dental and can be reached at his website or by phone at (903)-561-1122.