If you have very old tooth fillings or needed tooth fillings when money was tight, there's a good chance that they're made out of metal. While modern fillings are affordable and look identical to your teeth, cheaper fillings in years gone by were typically only available made out of metal. For your looks and your health, it might be in your best interest to have these fillings replaced. Read on to learn how you can benefit from having the replaced and what to expect from the process.
Metal Fillings are Unsightly
There's no doubt about it: metal fillings don't look nice. While fillings in the back of your teeth may only be noticeable if you're grinning, laughing, or yawning, metal fillings are particularly unattractive on front teeth. Unlike modern plastic and resin fillings, they don't resemble the teeth they're in at all, and draw attention to themselves. Even if your teeth are perfectly aligned and spaced, an ugly filling can make onlookers oblivious to the rest of your smile, honing in on the filling instead.
Silver Fillings are Dangerous
One of the reasons that metal fillings are no longer commonplace is that they can be dangerous. Silver fillings were once the gold standard of dental work, but have since been done away with because they contain mercury. Mercury is a known neurotoxin that can damage the brain, even in adulthood. This is particularly dangerous as fillings begin to degrade or fall out. If you have numerous fillings or believe that one or more of them may be made out of silver, you should have them removed right away to protect your health.
The Replacement Process
Having a filling removed is an easy process that can generally be performed by a cosmetic dentist in just one visit. Your dentist will examine your teeth and fillings and perform an X-ray to determine how deep the fillings go and what condition they're in.
Once your condition has been assessed, your dentist will go to work removing the old fillings. This typically requires drilling around the filling and pulling it out, and sanding away any remaining adhesive. Then, your dentist will fill the same area with resin or plastic that's carefully matched to your natural tooth color to give you the smile you want.
If your dentist determines that your fillings contain mercury, they may take additional precautions to make sure that you don't accidentally ingest any mercury, as well as protecting themselves from exposure.
Removing old fillings can vastly improve the look of your smile also also protect you from future health problems. If you're tired of having old metal fillings, talk to a cosmetic dentist like Dansville Family Dental Care right away to get them replaced.