Theriot Family Dental

Switching from Amalgam to Composite Fillings

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I have a mouth full of silver, amalgam fillings. One of them has developed a cavity underneath and it needs to be replaced. I want to replace it with the white composite filling but my dentist said that once you have an amalgam filling you have to replace it with the same thing. Either he is lying to me or my friend’s dentist did a procedure that he should not have. She recently had all of her silver fillings switched for white ones. Which is it?


Dear Abigail,

Before and After Mercury Free Fillings

Let’s not say that he is lying. Instead, I am going to say he is deflecting. My guess is he is an older dentist who just prefers doing things the way he always has. Composite (white) fillings and amalgam (silver) fillings have completely different bonding techniques. It is highly possible that he has not invested the time and money in learning the newer procedure and instead of admitting that has decided to steer you in another direction in order to save himself from embarrassment.

I don’t recommend pressuring him into doing this for a couple of reasons. First, the procedure to remove your silver amalgam fillings has to be done very carefully using a special procedure known as a sanitary amalgam removal, which requires special knowledge as well as specific equipment. Amalgam fillings are made mostly of mercury. The toxins in this are dangerous so you do not want to swallow and inhale. Then, there is the matter of the placing of the new fillings. If the procedure isn’t done correctly, it can lead to pain and problems.

While you can get these fillings removed and replaced, I want to suggest that you do it through a different dentist. My suggestion is you look for a mercury-free dentist. They will be skilled in the removal process of the amalgam as well as the bonding procedure for the composite fillings.

Not to be unkind about your current dentist, but I do not feel you are being well served with your current practitioner. The best dentists keep up with the developments in their field in order to serve their patients well.

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