Metal amalgam fillings–called “silver” fillings although they’re mostly made of mercury and turn black in your mouth–were a reasonable technology when no alternatives existed, but now that there are alternative fillings, you will probably want to replace your metal fillings with the new alternative materials. Here are six benefits of replacing your metal amalgam fillings with tooth-colored fillings.
You’ll Look Younger
Metal amalgam fillings can make your smile look older because they’re an older technology. These fillings will automatically date you as someone who had their teeth worked on in the 20th century. No matter what else people might judge you on, they will know your age by your teeth.
You’ll Look Healthier
Another problem with metal amalgam fillings is that once they turn black many people can’t distinguish them from cavities. Every time you laugh or talk, people might see a mouth full of black fillings and think that your teeth are actually full of cavities.
You’ll Look More Successful
Where metal amalgam fillings are still being used, it’s as an inexpensive alternative to better filling materials. When people see your metal amalgam fillings, they will assume that you either don’t or didn’t have the money to get your teeth filled properly.
They Can Cause Sensitivity
Metal conducts temperature very well, which means that metal amalgam fillings can conduct heat and cold closer to the nerve in your tooth, which leads to sensitivity. They also expand and contract at a different rate than your tooth enamel, which can put pressure on the tooth nerve. And they can cause cracks in your teeth that allow hot or cold liquid to penetrate the teeth. Read more about sensitivity from metal fillings here.
They May Be Dangerous
We know that mercury is a toxic element. We know that metal amalgam fillings are about 50% mercury by weight. And we know that the mercury doesn’t stay in the fillings. What we don’t know is whether or not having mercury fillings results in toxic exposure. But removing them can stop your exposure and reduce the accumulation of mercury in your system.
It’s Better for the Environment
Elemental mercury passes through us and into the environment in many ways. Through our urine, through our breath, and through the release of mercury from our fillings if we are cremated. Having your mercury fillings safely disposed of can reduce your contribution to environmental mercury. In fact, this is why more than a 150 nations have pledged to try to eliminate mercury sources, including dental amalgam.