Silver fillings, or amalgams, are a filling material used to restore tooth structure missing from decay or trauma. They are typically used in the back of the mouth due to their unsightly silver color.
Amalgams have been used for decades as a restorative material and can last for many years without any issues. In addition to the poor aesthetics, the other big downside of amalgam restoration is that the tooth has to be drilled on more extensively for the fillings to work. A white composite restoration, in comparison, is bonded to the tooth. This means that the hole drilled in the tooth can be as small as possible with no fear of the restoration falling out. Amalgams are not bonded to the tooth and therefore need a mechanical lock design so that they don’t fall out. Amalgams typically mean removing more healthy tooth structure than needed and possibly leading to weakened teeth that are prone to cracks and fractures.
Do all silver fillings need to be replaced?
Even though they require more tooth structure to be taken out, this does not mean all silver fillings need to be replaced. Small amalgams can have a favorable prognosis and typically are not recommended for replacement. Larger amalgams have a higher chance of failing, but even then, could have a favorable prognosis.
Every case is different!
We treat each tooth on a case-by-case basis. If any suspicious areas are found during your appointment, we use intra-oral cameras to show you our findings. This way, we can both see the problem together and determine the best course of treatment.
If you have any concerns over your amalgam restorations, our team is here to answer any questions you may have!