mouth checkupThough major news outlets have posed this question many times, and usually around the subject of amalgam materials and their safety, most dental professionals consider the question in another light.

Rather than focusing on whether amalgam is slowly leaching materials into the body (since the research has not been able to give a totally conclusive answer about the risks), they focus on the actual reasons a dental professional should recommend this course of action.

What are the reasons? Well, most knowledgeable dentists would say that you should replace the old fillings if:

  • There is soreness and signs of decay beneath them or in the surrounding tooth;
  • If there has somehow been a problem that led to a “void” between the tooth and the filling material. As an example, some people grind their teeth and the amalgam is often soft enough to shift beneath the pressure. This can cause a void and further decay; or
  • There is a crack to the body of the tooth and this prevents it from supporting the filling properly in the future.

These are really the only reasons that would necessitate the procedures such as removing a filling and replacing it. Now, we did use the word necessitate, meaning that you may not necessarily need the replacement, but you can want it to be done.

This is known as an esthetic reason, and it could be due to the fact that you don’t like the way the previous dental expert shaped the composite filling. It could be due to the fact that the colors were not properly matched. It may be that the fitting done on the filling is uncomfortable for you, or that an inlay was not the right choice.

There are many esthetic reasons that you may opt to have a filling replaced, and your dental expert is a great resource at all such times. Make sure you consider all of the factors involved with a replacement.

For instance, it could be unwise to begin “tinkering” with a well fitted filling or inlay because you are not convinced it is the right color or that it looks a bit too flat or rounded. Esthetics do matter to many people, but the long term health of all of the teeth involved should be the focus, and a dental expert will always have this in mind.