Replacing Amalgam Fillings
Cavities were once most commonly filled with a silver compound, designed to be strong as well as to securely plug any weak spots caused by decay. If you had a cavity filled some years ago with an amalgam, or silver compound, you may now be interested in having it replaced with a resin based filling that can be colored to perfectly match your surrounding teeth.
If you want to replace amalgam fillings with a composite filling, it may or may not be considered medically necessary. If you have experienced any problems with your amalgam fillings or if the cavity has continued to widen around the spot filled, it would be considered medically necessary to treat and thus your dental insurance could cover the process of drilling out the old filling and replacing it with a tooth colored composite filling. If you have not experienced any problems with your silver amalgam fillings and simply want to replace them with fillings designed to blend in with your teeth, it would most likely be considered elective or cosmetic dentistry, and you would pay out of pocket.
There are various reasons to replace amalgam fillings with resin or composite fillings. One may be tooth sensitivity. Some patients complain that they are more susceptible to feeling discomfort with cold foods like ice cream when they have silver fillings. Some dentists routinely advise to replace amalgam fillings because of a widespread but misplaced belief that the silver or metal compound may be poisonous. Because of the composition of the silver filling, it may not have completely bonded to your tooth and might need replacing in order to more effectively treat the cavity.
Cosmetically, composite fillings are more pleasing because they blend in with surrounding teeth. The composite can be tinted to any variety of shades and so no matter what shade of white your teeth may be, the filling can be made to match completely and mask the fact that you’ve even had it done. Very few dentists continue to use amalgam fillings with the widespread use of composite fillings being the preferable option. When you want to replace your amalgam fillings or have new fillings necessary in the future, ensure that your doctor will use resin or composite fillings to restore you to dental health and perfect your smile.