Dentists use a variety of materials to create dental fillings. Two of the more common filling materials are amalgam and composite. Amalgam fillings are silver in color and made from a compound of various metals. Composite fillings are made from plastic resins and can be dyed to match your natural tooth color. Amalgam fillings have been popular in dentistry for several decades, but composite fillings are becoming more popular due to their aesthetics and strength. If you currently have amalgam fillings, you may want to have them replaced with composite fillings. Below are a few signs that you should consider having your amalgam fillings replaced.
You Have Several Amalgam Fillings
A main component in amalgam fillings is mercury, which is toxic to humans. In a single filling or even multiple small fillings, the amount of mercury released into your body is minimal. However, if you have several large amalgam fillings, mercury can build up in your body over time. Researchers have discovered that 8 or more amalgam fillings can raise mercury levels in your blood, so if you have several large amalgams, you may want to get a few of them replaced with composites.
Your Amalgam Fillings Are Beginning to Show Signs of Wear
Over time, your amalgam fillings may chip or crack, just like a regular tooth. You may notice signs of wear along the edges of the filling, where the filling connects with the tooth. If the amalgam appears to be separating from the tooth or if you notice any chips in the amalgam, it is probably a good idea to get your filling replaced with a composite filling. Since amalgam fillings are usually placed in molars, they can be difficult to see. You should have your dentist regularly check your fillings for signs of wear.
You Have Had Your Filling More Than 10 Years
The average amalgam filling lasts around 12 years. However, it is a good idea to replace your fillings before they begin to deteriorate. Once a filling breaks or wears down, your tooth can be exposed to bacteria that may cause decay. In order to prevent this exposure, you should keep close watch on your fillings once they are 10 years old and consider replacing them before the 12 year mark.
Besides keeping your teeth healthy, replacing your amalgam fillings with composite fillings can also improve your smile and increase your confidence. If you are concerned about your amalgam fillings, talk to a dentist at a clinic like Plymouth Valley Dental Group about replacing them.