Despite this, silver fillings continue to be a popular option due to their lower price. However, the health concerns surrounding this are scary. Silver fillings weaken and destroy the tooth structure over time. Those with silver fillings will have expensive procedures to deal with cracks. The best solution to avoid this is to replace silver fillings with natural biomimetic fillings.
Silver Fillings Are Not Ideal
As mentioned earlier, silver fillings contain mercury, which is a toxic substance. Over time, as the fillings weaken, mercury vapor releases, damaging the teeth and potentially causing harm to the body. The FDA states that there is no solid proof that links mercury to any complications. In our opinion, it is better to have a substance that is guaranteed to be non-toxic for our peace of mind.
Silver fillings also have a low lifespan, lasting 10-15 years. Many do not even reach the entire lifespan due to degradation caused by these fillings. The metal often reacts negatively to temperature changes, like with hot and cold food. It pressures the tooth, which contributes to its structure breaking.
Microfractures are often present within teeth that have long had silver fillings. While they are cheap, many also don’t like them due to their unnatural look. They can give an impression of rotten teeth, making some lose their confidence in delivering their best smile. They also contribute to sensitivity problems, as they break down protective layers.
Many alternative options exist. They perform better, giving a more natural look to the teeth. White fillings and ceramic restorations help reinforce tooth structure in the long-term. The ideal property for a filling should:
- Be non-toxic
- Restore the strength and function of the tooth
- Mimic the natural tooth structure
- Seal strongly to prevent cavities, leaks, and decay
- Be biocompatible
The cheap treatment with silver fillings can be misleading, as they don’t tell you the complications. Many of those who’ve had silver fillings have experienced their teeth breaking down. They later have root canals, crowns, and other expensive treatments. A biomimetic approach would’ve led to avoidance of the entire situation. The advancements in technology and modern techniques of dentists remove the need for silver fillings.
Silver fillings do not connect the tooth back together and are a stiff substance. There is no adhesion to the tooth, leaving it to its already deteriorating health. As a result, teeth with silver fillings become weaker over time and are more susceptible to cracks. Another downside of silver fillings is that they shave off healthy teeth for placement. This shaving leads to further degradation of the tooth structure.
Many of those who’ve held onto silver fillings for long periods experience persistent problems. These include:
- Gaps at the margins or edges
- Increased sensitivity
- Lingering pain
- Higher chance of tooth extraction
Some patients exhibited gaps where bacteria could gather and develop, accelerating decay. Others leaked and caused the mercury to further whittle down tooth structure. When the silver fillings are gone, most of the teeth develop cracks due to their weakened state. This decay can even affect nearby teeth. In these cases, replacement is the best option.
Replacing Silver Fillings
The ideal replacement depends on many factors. We would have to look at the amount of healthy tooth structure remaining and the size of the silver filling. We’ll need to preserve parts of the teeth free from any damage like cracks and cavities. The goal is to restore the strength and the structure of the tooth using long-lasting, natural materials.
It’s important to understand that dental restorations are not products but rather services. The success rate of any procedure depends on the dentist providing the care. Dentistry closely ties to its operator and their techniques. It is why you may have different experiences with two dentists.
There are three main ways to replace silver fillings. These are:
- White filling or composite filling
- Ceramic inlay
Ideally, you’d want the replacement to be a biomimetic composite filling. However, it will all depend on how much healthy tooth is available. For small silver fillings, the composite filling will suffice. For teeth with larger silver fillings, ceramic helps restore and preserve the tooth.
Composite fillings are also known as white fillings, and they come in a variety of properties. The best ones are those that have compositions similar to the tooth structure. Other white fillings are no better than silver fillings. Another reason why some white fillings are ineffective is due to poor technique.
The best approach when placing a filling requires numerous increments. The increments help the filling maximize adhesion while restoring the tooth. As such, the best kind takes significantly longer than the usual approach.
Avoid Replacement Using Crowns
While crowns are an option to replace silver fillings, we do not recommend them. Crowns usually become an option when the silver filling occupies much of the tooth that has a very weak structure. Crowns are avoidable if your dentist uses a biomimetic approach. The only time it will not work is if all surfaces of the tooth have damage.
Even then, placing a crown involves a lot of shaving and drilling. You will lose substantial amounts of your tooth to make way for the crown. It is the reason many of those who put in crowns have an increased risk of getting root canals. Biomimetic filling minimizes complications. It maximizes the lifespan and restores the strength of the teeth.
Normal White Fillings Vs. Biomimetic Composite Fillings
White fillings rely on adhesion to create a strong seal between the tooth and filling. Due to poor materials and technique, many white fillings become susceptible to cavities and leakage. We use a curing light to harden the filling, which results in the transition, creating the seal. However, the filling also shrinks in size as a result.
Poor technique leads to noticeable gaps that likely contribute to future complications. They place the lowest quality of white filling in one large increment. We call this technique bulk-white fillings, and they are often the result of insurance-provided dental care. Dentists under contracts feel that biomimetic fillings are not worth the cost provided. They settle with the cheapest option.
In contrast, biomimetic fillings build the tooth in small layers. This allows the filling to compensate for the shrinkage. The filling naturally joints the teeth and later mimics its adhesive strength. This form of treatment requires no shaving or drilling. Data shows that these types of fillings have the best long-term performance. Here are some other advantages of biomimetic composite fillings:
- The tooth has a natural appearance due to a seamless blend.
- A strong seal means less accumulation of bacteria and plaque.
- We only remove damaged portions of the teeth and preserve the rest.
- They bring back normal tooth function with no risk for cracks and fractures.
- A chip in the filling is easily replaceable, with no need for restoration.
There is no standard price when it comes to replacing silver fillings with quality white fillings. As a service, the cost will depend on the dentist’s expertise and the restoration. Small fillings can cost as low as $50 and finish in a short time. Most of these fixed services are of poor quality that are backed by insurance companies who set the fee. Dentists offset the cheap costs by reducing the quality of work and time spent on the filling.
On the other hand, larger white fillings can cost as high as $1,500. For optimal results, dentists should take their time. For large fillings, we often spend one to two hours to ensure the best results.
Choose a Biomimetic Dentist
The word biomimetic means “to mimic nature.” This form of dentistry aims to restore the teeth close to their original, natural form and function. All methods in biomimetic dentistry have backing from scientific studies and extensive research. Our goal is to restore the teeth without compromising any of their healthy parts. We also aim to provide the least invasive means of restoration.
Biomimetic restorations differ in quality to standard fillings, especially silver fillings and crowns. Dentists like us do not advocate using standard materials or ceramics. It is possible to replace silver fillings without the need for risky treatments that lead to further complications down the road.
By choosing this form of treatment, you avoid painful and invasive dental procedures. It’s better to go for fillings that guarantee long-term oral health. Biomimetic fillings are the best investment for a tooth.
For many years, we’ve been practicing and teaching biomimetic dentistry. It has led to better oral health for thousands of patients. Thousands of dentists around the world rely on its science and techniques. We offer services for patients around the world to ensure they get the best treatment available today.
10 Reasons why you should replace your silver fillings, https://www.myperfectsmiledds.com/reasons-you-should-replace-silver-fillings/
We practice Biomimetic dentistry, a conservative and minimally invasive type of dental care., https://www.melbournedentistry.com/preventive-dentistry/white-fillings-with-biomimetic-dentistry/#:~:text=Biomimetic%20fillings%20and%20restorations%20help,and%20restoration%20survive%20for%20longer.