Dentist Questions Dental filling

Can my silver fillings be replaced with white fillings?

I have a lot of old silver fillings in my back teeth. Can I get them removed and replaced with the more modern white fillings?

31 Answers

Absolutely, you can have the old metal fillings replaced with tooth colored modern materials. It’s a normal practice.
Yes. I remove silver/mercury fillings all the time and replace them with white fillings. I have found that those metal filling almost always have leaked because they do not bond to the teeth. The mercury has also been shown to escape in the form of mercury vapor every time a person eats on them. The metals corrode and also seem to infiltrate the pores of the teeth and stain them.
Why not? Everything is up to you.
If your fillings need to be replaced because they are broken or there is decay then have a discussion with your dentist about your options. I would not switch out a 'silver' filling unless there is a medical reason to do so. If it's not broke, don't fix it......
Of course they can be replaced, but let’s talk. What are your reasons for replacing them? You said they are all the way back (posterior teeth) so aesthetic is not a concern. Generally, this is my rule: if you don’t have an open crack on the tooth or cavity on it, leave it alone! Replacing it can cause sensitivity. Silver fillings (amalgam) stay by retention, white fillings bond to the tooth.

Now, because silver fillings are made of metals, every time you drink or eat something hot, they expand more than natural teeth; that can cause fractures. If the fracture line is open, then have it replaced as, if we can see it, it will be a highway for the bacteria to get inside the tooth.
In most cases, yes. Sometimes depending on size of fillings, secondary decay and cracks we will recommend core build up and crowns.
Yes, you can always get your fillings replaced with composite restorations (tooth-colored fillings). I would speak to your dentist about it.
Of course! They can be replaced by Composite (white) filling or Porcelain (Inlay or Onlay) restoration.
Yes they can, if it is for cosmetic reasons, and the fillings are small to moderate in size. Larger silver fillings may benefit from porcelain crown or onlay coverage.
It is a very common question. Of course, all of the silver fillings can be replaced by white material, but we need to know the reason for replacement. There are several reasons that are good cause to replace an old filling, regardless of whether it is silver or white. You will find more detailed info in my website page: "Ask Your Dentist"
However, sometimes patients can be scared by bad advice and information, such as the alleged risk of silver fillings for health. If a patient decides to replace a silver filling only because it’s made from silver, that would be a poor decision.
Old silver fillings can be removed and replaced with white fillings, but it is unethical to remove unless they are defective
It would be a bad choice. Amalgam fillings are the safest, cheapest, strongest and longest lasting of any filling that can be placed. They could stay in your mouth without problems for 50 or 60 years. White plastic fillings leak and although they are fine for front teeth, they do not hold up well in the posterior teeth. Leave your fillings alone. You are wasting your time and money to replace them.
Here is the deal with silver fillings. They do a great job restoring a tooth for nine years on the average and then fall apart. Their tooth colored composite fillings look better but are no more durable. They each cost about the same which is reasonably inexpensive in the short term, but because they don't last long term, they both become expensive in the long term both in terms of cost and in terms of health. Indirect restorations, gold and ceramic, cost more in the short term but last indefinitely making them both healthier and less costly in the long term.
I would only replace your fillings if your dentist feels that these old fillings are leaking or have recurrent decay around them. White fillings may look great, but if your fillings are large and close to the nerve, these fillings can cause increased sensitivity.
The answer to this is yes. However you shouldn't get them replaced until they need to be. Silver filling can last a long time if your are doing good home care and regular visits to the dentist. Some last as long as 25 years and beyond. The key is to remove them as soon as they begin to break down. Do not wait until they break. Usually it is the tooth structure that breaks before the filling does. Visit your dentist every six months and really take to heart when they tell you it is time to change them out.
Of course they can, but be forewarned that the ”modern” composite fillings are much more likely to end with root canals so you have to be careful with wholesale replacement.
Absolutely. Your dentist is perfectly capable of doing this and has done it for many of his patients I am sure.
Yes, if necessary you may have your old fillings replaced with more modern bonded tooth colored restorations.
Of course you can. However, you need to ask for that when you go since ethical dentists will not ask you to change a silver filling that works.
With the new glass ionomer cement cosmetic fillings can be placed in posterior teeth unlike years ago when metal amalgam was the best and most efficient way to restore back teeth.
Yes, of course. But if you have insurance, they may not pay for them if they are not failing, that is, if they do not have recurrent decay. Sometimes the ins. company asks for X-rays to indicate if decay is present and it isn't right to ask the insurance co. to reimburse you simply because you like the appearance of tooth-colored fillings better than the silver ones.
Your silver or mercury fillings can’t be replaced with white or composite fillings but they should be done by a dentist trained in the proper protocols of biological dentistry as a member of the IAOMT I would recommend that this be done by someone with a proper training. You can go on our website IAOMT.ORG to find a dentist in your area you will need to have specialized protocols to protect you from Mercury leakage and protocols to take supplements to also protect you for that.

Best Regards,
Dr. Mark Berkowitz
Yes, you can, but why? There is an old saying: "If it is not broken, don't try to fix it." The "silver" fillings are a good material and are more reliable than the "white" fillings, which can expand and contract with temp changes, making them more susceptible to recurrent decay.
Yes, if they are worn out and due to be replaced they can be replaced with a white filling. If larger a crown may be indicated.
Yes, you can certainly have your silver fillings replaced with more modern tooth-colored materials. Depending on the size, the replacements would be either composite filling, or ceramic onlays or ceramic crowns.

Dr Gochman
Yes your silver fillings can be replaced with white fillings. I would advise however that you do this only if you absolutely need to, for example, if there is a cavity under a silver filling then by all means, change it to a white one. Only reason is because everytime you work on a tooth, the tooth gets traumatized, you don't want to traumatize a tooth if you absolutely don't need to.
As long as the roots of the teeth are healthy, better looking (mercury-free) fillings could probably be placed. If the fillings are very large, or if the teeth have cracks, something stronger might be recommended. The stronger restorations would also be tooth colored.
They usually can be replaced depending on how large they are and whether there is decay under them. Sometimes the tooth is weak underneath and may require a crown. If the fillings are intact with no signs of leakage or decay, I suggest leaving them alone.
Yes. Most of the time there are no problems with this, however you can sometimes get sensitivity afterwards.
My advice to all my patients is to replace it when it's broken or there is decay under silver filling. But if you cosmetically want to change it, of course you can.
Yes, but ask your dentist about the risks and benefits of doing that. Smaller fillings can more easily be replaced but some larger ones can cause complications when being removed.