Replacing amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings have been used for over a century. Amalgam was chosen for it's durability and functionality, definitely not aesthetics. (White teeth, black fillings, who will notice?). In the past very few alternatives were available without significant expense. Although an amalgam filling itself is very durable I have found, over the last 30+ years, that the tooth surrounding the amalgam suffers significantly. It is rare for a day to go by when I don't encounter a cracked or split tooth. People may present with a tooth that is sensitive to cold water or to chewing or a fractured cusp but frequently no symptoms are experienced. When I examine teeth with amalgam fillings I frequently see vertical fracture lines as shown in the image to the right.
As you will see in the image to the right, taken in my own clinic, when an amalgam filling is removed the internal damage becomes obvious. Frequently this type of fracture results in the tooth requiring extraction. At best a crown is required but this may also involve root canal therapy.
Over the years I have changed my opinion on amalgam now that affordable, bonded tooth coloured fillings are available. I feel that most amalgam fillings should be replaced to minimise the risk of tooth fracture, tooth loss or the need for more expensive treatment.
The benefit of replacing the fillings also includes the removal of heavy metals from your body and a far more aesthetically pleasing appearance. See our page on cosmetic dentistry.