Replacing Older Fillings

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“Nine out of ten patients want to get rid of their silver fillings, usually for aesthetic reasons,” says Jonathan Ziv, DDS, a California cosmetic dentist.

In terms of function, it’s a good idea to replace aging silver fillings. Left in the mouth too long, they can hurt you in two ways. First, if the margin (the junction between the enamel and filling) is not fitting perfectly, bacteria can get in there and eventually decay the tooth. Second, if you have micro-cracks in that tooth, the filling does not offer you the protection that an intact tooth would, thereby making it more susceptible to fracture, especially if the metal has expanded or corroded.

One way to know there may be a problem with your fillings: coldness or sweetness causes pain or sensitivity, even for just a few seconds. This could mean you have a gap between the filling and the tooth, which allows liquid to get in.

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