Cosmetic Dentistry Fillings Replace Silver Dental Fillings

Over the past decade, tooth colored composite dental fillings have replaced many people’s old silver amalgam fillings.

The initial reason for the shift has been more pleasing aesthetics due to the tooth colored appearance of composites when compared to shiny silver dental fillings. There is also another reason why many people have opted to select composite fillings or replace old amalgam fillings. Some people have been bothered by a metal taste in their mouths. Others reported an allergic reaction to the metals in their mouths.

In December of this year, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to hold an advisory panel to discuss scientific issues that may affect the regulation of dental amalgam, particularly the elevated risks that silver fillings may pose for pregnant women, unborn children and young children.

Silver dental amalgam fillings are comprised of a variety of metals, including: liquid mercury, powdered amalgam alloy, silver, tin, and copper. Recently, the FDA changed the classification of dental amalgams from a Class I to Class II.  This change raised concerns from many about the adequacy of the risk assessment used by the FDA to classify dental amalgam, including: the effect of mercury and the exposure of mercury vapor for children. The group contends that more clinical studies must be performed to identify the appropriate classification for dental amalgam.

Dental amalgams may be appropriate for certain teeth in the right quantity, particularly for people with molar cavities who are likely to experience excessive wear and tear on molar fillings due to repetitive biting. Amalgam dental fillings are stronger and last longer than composites, but the esthetic appeal and reduced risks have made composite fillings more appealing to many people today. Most people do not mind returning to the dentist to replace aged composite fillings every seven to ten years.  Composite fillings are just another example of cosmetic dentistry that improves functionality, while providing aesthetic appeal.

If you are interested in general dentistry or cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas cosmetic dentist, for a consultation at 512-380-1300.