Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Should I change my old sliver fillings?

Not always, but there are many times it is imperative - for the sake of your oral health - that these fillings are replaced. The most common reason for replacement is when the joint where the tooth and the filling meet is not sealed well. If there is an issue with the seal, bacteria and sugars can leak between the filling and tooth causing a cavity under the existing filling.

Often there is no radiographic evidence of this type of cavity because the metal filling blocks the x-ray beam. The majority of the time a gap in the seal is detected either when doing an exam, or when the adjacent tooth structure (beside the filling) starts to turn grey. If the seal is in question, I would say that over 80% of the time I will find decay (i.e. cavity) - again with no radiographic evidence. If these poorly sealed fillings are left untreated, then a cavity will spread under the filling. Remember, decay is like rust.
These old amalgams are replaced under rubber dam to help contain the mercury and they are most commonly replaced with composite (white) fillings. To learn more about composite fillings, visit our service page for details.

-Dr. Ian Gray

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