Should I have my old metal fillings replaced?

Most metal dental fillings are dental amalgam — a stable alloy made with mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metals. Over the years, many researchers have discovered that mercury has adverse effects on the human brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and the immune system. These effects include impairment of peripheral vision, lack of coordination and muscle weakness, among others.

So is it necessary to replace your old metal fillings with composite ones?

There is no conclusive evidence to support that you’re better off having amalgam fillings replaced with alternative materials. The American Dental Association supports the use of dental amalgam as a safe, reliable and effective treatment for dental decay. The levels of mercury in the metal fillings are not high enough to cause any type of reaction.

Most people opt for the composite when having new fillings done, but there are other reasons you may feel the need to replace the fillings you already have. For example, in the event that your dental fillings are defective or show decay, it’s important to replace them regardless of the material they are made of. Untreated decay may eventually lead to an infection (abscess). In some cases, replacing a dental filling may benefit the long-term health of your teeth and gums.

Mayo Clinic explains: Dental amalgam is often used to fill large areas of decay on back teeth. Generally, replacing metal dental fillings for cosmetic reasons should only be done after careful consideration, and if your dentist feels it won’t compromise the long-term health of your teeth. Likewise, there’s no need to replace metal dental fillings because of concerns about mercury in your fillings. Composite fillings only last five to ten years and need to be replaced more frequently.

Affinity Dental has developed three dental insurance plans that are structured to suit you and your family’s needs.

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