If you have heard about the risks of “silver” fillings, you might be wondering whether all metal fillings are bad. After all, it does sometimes sound when we talk as if you should consider replacing gold fillings at the same time as you are going to replace metal amalgam ones.

However, the two fillings are very different, and need to be considered separately.

Gold Fillings Aren’t Toxic

One of the biggest differences between the two fillings is that gold fillings aren’t toxic. So-called “silver” fillings are actually metal amalgam. These fillings are made up of a number of different metals. Several of the metals used are toxic, but it is the mercury (which can make up 50% of the filling by weight) that is the biggest concern.

Middle aged man having dental treatment. After learning the negative impacts or silver & mercury dental fillings he's weighing his options at the Durham office

Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on earth, and it has the ability to significantly damage your nervous system if you consume it in quantities that are too high. Mercury from metal amalgam filling enters the body in many ways, and people with these fillings have more mercury in their blood.

Gold fillings are just gold. And pure gold is relatively inert. It stays in the filling, except what gets worn down, and it doesn’t react with your body’s chemistry to produce adverse effects.

Gold Fillings Don’t Crack Teeth

Another significant problem with metal amalgam fillings is that they can cause cracks in your teeth. Metal amalgam expands more rapidly than tooth enamel. Putting pressure on the tooth from within. This pressure creates numerous tiny cracks that can then make the tooth more vulnerable to breaking apart during biting, chewing, and other stresses.

Gold fillings don’t lead to the same kinds of problems. They are not as different in thermal expansion, and they exert less force on the tooth.

Gold Can lead to Sensitivity

Metal amalgam fillings can make your teeth more sensitive. In part, that’s because they can expand and put pressure on the tooth. But it’s also because the metal isn’t a good insulator, so temperature changes penetrate deeper into the tooth, causing sensitivity.

Gold doesn’t have the same expansion problem, but it’s an even better conductor, which can worsen temperature-related sensitivity.

Gold Fillings Look Better

Of course, one of the most important reasons to replace metal amalgam fillings is that they look unattractive. They may start silver, but they often turn black in your mouth. This makes them look as bad as or worse than the tooth decay they replace. And the filling doesn’t just look dark itself, it can darken your entire tooth.

Gold fillings are a little better. They look like gold. Of course, they also look like fillings, so they can make your mouth look unhealthy. Plus, because gold fillings have become less popular, they can make you look older than you wish.

Should You Replace All Metal Fillings?

There aren’t as many reasons to replace your gold fillings as there are to replace metal amalgam fillings. However, there are still some good reasons to consider it. If you’ve decided to replace gold fillings, we can help rejuvenate your smile with more attractive and highly durable ceramic fillings. Please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Durham, delivering Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Savannah, GA.