Should I replace all of my old silver fillings with the new tooth colored fillings?

 
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Q: Should I replace all of my old silver fillings with the new tooth colored fillings?

A: I like to tell my patients that there are three major flaws with sliver fillings. First, they are ugly. Second, silver fillings are not typically bonded to the tooth and they expand and contract with temperature, thus allowing teeth to fracture. And third, they are just plain ugly (yes, I know I said it this twice). 

It may not seem obvious, but there are some risks you need to be aware of if you want them replaced for no other reason besides being ugly. Dental "insurance" companies commonly deny paying fro silver filling replacement with pretty tooth-colored material. They may call it "cosmetic" and you'll be stuck with the full bill. Since the metal in the fillings block out everything on an X-ray, your dentist may not be able to see possible problems going under that filling...you could end up needing more treatment than you anticipated. If you are concerned about the mercury in these fillings, then beware: the two most "toxic" times of a silver filling's life are when they are newly placed, and then when they are drilled out. But, if there is an obvious defect or need to replace a silver filling, I ALWAYS recommend replacing them with a material that looks just like tooth...it isn't as ugly. 

 
Blake Rossell