There are many reasons for a patient to decide that they want to replace their silver amalgams. Some of the reasons are cosmetic. For example, amalgams are less attractive than the tooth-colored composites or can cause dark grey stains to appear on teeth and even gums.
One reason may be due to financial concerns. Although tooth-colored composites fillings may cost a little more at the time of service, they have potential to save you money in the long term. For example, silver amalgams expand and contract with heat and cold, which can eventually cause a tooth fracture. Usually when a fracture occurs, a crown is required. Also, amalgams can corrode which can allow for bacteria to get underneath the filling and cause decay. This will require the dentist to remove the filling, remove the decay and replace the filling. With both cases, it is not an absolute that the amalgam will fail.
Another reasons are health related. Amalgam fillings are composed of silver, tin, zinc and mercury and because of the concern of the toxicity of mercury, many people have chosen to replace their existing fillings or have chosen composite resin instead for their new fillings. Although mercury is harmful when ingested, several health organizations, including the ADA, say that mercury is safe when bonded with other metals, as is the case in dental fillings.
Dentistry is not an exact science and unforeseen circumstances can occur in any case. We make decisions for your treatment based on you and what are your best options. Palmetto Family Dentistry uses both composite and amalgam fillings with confidence. If you are concerned, please feel free to speak with Dr. Wimer at your appointment.