Theriot Family Dental

Do I Need a Holistic Dentist to Replace Silver Fillings?

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I’m a 50ish woman who’s had quite a few silver fillings placed in her life. I’ve been focusing on cleaning up both my diet and environment to improve my overall health. I want all the silver fillings taken out of my mouth and replaced with tooth-colored ones. I’m not really having any symptoms (yet) but I just want to have them removed before I do. My sister said I might have better luck getting my request granted at a holistic dentist. Is this true? Could I get them all done at the same appointment, and is it difficult?



Dear Charlene,

before and after silver fillings

Great question. You’re not alone. Many people today are equally health-conscious and face the same challenges you do. You may absolutely have your old silver fillings removed and replaced! There are certain details to take into consideration, however, so let’s take a closer look.  

Silver Fillings Are Not Just Silver

As you’re no doubt aware, the silver filling material is really an amalgamation (mixture) of a few different metals, such as mercury, copper, tin, zinc, and silver. The largest ingredient in that grouping is mercury, which modern science has show to be a toxin. When newly placed, the alloy is often burnished to a high shine, making them appear shiny and “silver”. The highest mercury exposure to the patient happens during placement and during removal of these types of fillings, though leakage can occur during its lifespan. 

While the American Dental Association says they are safe, you can understand why many patients are uncomfortable with the idea of having mercury in their mouths.

When To Replace An Old Silver Filling?

As these types of restorations age, they can begin to show signs of wear due to time, use, and clenching/grinding. The filling may crack, or its edges may begin to leak and lift, allowing bacteria to enter and decay to take hold. This is generally when you will be advised that it needs replacement. The old filling and any decay is removed, the prepared area re-shaped, then filled with a tooth-colored composite material which is bonded into place. If too little tooth material is left after caries removal and preparation/reshaping, a crown or onlay may be recommended to you instead of a filling. 

Though, if you want them replaced outside of those circumstances it is certainly your right.

Can I Do Them All At Once?

You did not specify just how many amalgam fillings you have, and depending upon that number and how many quadrants of the mouth are affected, this may or may not be able to be completed in one visit. Much of that depends on the dentist too. Some will only do one quadrant at a time. Others will do an entire arch. You’ll know more after receiving x-rays and a complete examination. While you may see a general dentist about this, not all of them know how to do a sanitary amalgam removal.

Due to the aforementioned mercury vapor released during amalgam filling removal, you will needs some protection. A sanitary amalgam removal takes specific precautions to help with this issue by using special equipment, including a stopper dam, to prevent unnecessary exposure. If there are no obvious signs of leakage or cracks, you will have more success getting a holistic dentist to remove them.

Your Body Will Thank You!

Finally, we want to commend you on putting your systemic health at a high priority–a decision you’ll never regret.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.