Almost daily in his office, Dr. Messer sees patients with old silver (amalgam) dental fillings. Most of the time, these patients are over 50 years old, and these tooth fillings were placed when they were a teenager or in college. These fillings have been more than serviceable for many years, but like anything else, they wear out with age. Once they start wearing away though, these fillings can lead to serious complications that the patient isn’t even aware of.
Old silver fillings present many problems, most of which are silent:
- Most of the time old silver fillings poorly seal the tooth. Gaps can exist where the filling meets the tooth, allowing harmful plaque and bacteria to enter the tooth and cause cavities and decay. Once this happens, the tooth weakens and can lead to pain, breakage, infection, and tooth loss.
- Silver fillings act like a wedge in the tooth. The constant stresses of chewing and biting can lead to cracking of the tooth surrounding the filling. When a tooth cracks, it further weakens the tooth and can lead to pain, breakage, infection, and tooth loss.
- Old silver fillings can leach into the tooth and cause unsightly staining, in addition to being unsightly in and of themselves. That’s why Dr. Messer replaces the old fillings with tooth-colored, composite dental fillings.
This can all be happening, and the patients have no idea since the damage doesn’t cause noticeable pain at first. If you have old silver fillings in your mouth, you should be wondering what is going on underneath them.
If you’re interested in stopping the damage these fillings are causing and enhancing the look of your smile, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Messer for a consultation or call us at (973) 895-4333.