Mercury Fillings: How to Have Them Replaced
A general dentist can replace mercury fillings with composite resin fillings. Also known as silver amalgam, mercury fillings were once the standard way to treat tooth decay, but studies have shown mercury can be toxic. As a result, silver amalgam fillings are increasingly being replaced with composite fillings and other less toxic options.
How to have mercury fillings replaced by a general dentist
Composite resins have other benefits over silver amalgam fillings besides being less toxic. Composite resins are also the more aesthetically pleasing option since they can be color-matched with the rest of the patient's real teeth. This allows a general dentist to fill up cavities with composites and to rebuild teeth. Other benefits of getting a composite resin filling include:
- Does not contain toxic ingredients like mercury
- Composites can be used to strengthen a tooth
- Requires the removal of less teeth material than mercury fillings
Reasons to have mercury fillings replaced
Anyone who is interested in having mercury fillings replaced should schedule an appointment with a dentist. The oral professional will examine the patient's restorations and determine if replacing them is a good idea. The Food and Drug Administration recommends not replacing mercury fillings unless they are old and due for replacement. The work required can end up causing more harm than leaving the fillings in place, regardless of the toxicity of mercury.
A dentist might opt not to replace a silver amalgam filling if it is being used to cover a large cavity. Composite fillings are not well suited for that task
Reasons why mercury fillings might need to be replaced with composite fillings include:
- Fractured teeth: Silver amalgam fillings are more likely to crack teeth that have been restored with them than composite resins. This is often the result of having to remove a large portion of a tooth that is being prepared for mercury fillings. As a result, the tooth's structure becomes weaker and it becomes more prone to cracks and breaks. Composites, on the other hand, are able to strengthen teeth.
- Age: Fillings getting old can lead to them becoming loose. This allows bacteria in the mouth to reintroduce decay to the tooth. Having loose mercury fillings is a good reason to have them replaced with composite fillings.
- Better protection: Composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth being restored, so there is no way for bacteria and acids in the mouth to leak into the tooth. The same cannot be said about silver amalgam fillings.
- Improved aesthetics: Mercury fillings are designed for therapeutic purposes, while composite fillings serve cosmetic and therapeutic purposes.
Life after replacing mercury fillings
Patients should expect to deal with some teeth sensitivity for the first two weeks after getting their mercury fillings replaced. The sensitivity can be managed with desensitizing products like toothpaste.
Get a better type of fillings
Dealing with old metal fillings that are due for replacement? Stop by North Atlanta Center for Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry to learn more about how our dentist can replace them with composite fillings.
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