I have 18-year-old silver fillings in three teeth. One of the silver fillings in my top left second molar cracked three weeks ago. Since then, I have had a metal taste in my mouth. Is this coming from the filling? I want all three fillings out, but my dentist will only take out the broken one. Should I just skip the confrontation with my dentist and get someone else to replace the fillings? How long will it take to replace them? Thank you. Justin
Amalgam, often called “silver,” fillings are metal based. About fifty of the filling is mercury. The rest of the filling is a mixture of silver, tin, and copper. If one of your fillings cracked, you could have a metallic taste from it.
Although your dentist doesn’t want to replace all your amalgam fillings, if you want them out, you can find a dentist who will remove them and replace them with white composite fillings. Many dentists still use amalgam fillings and replace an old amalgam filling with the same material. Whenever you have a cracked filling replaced, ask the dentist what type of material they will use to replace it.
If you find a dentist who only uses composite fillings, you can be sure that you will not get amalgam instead.
Composite fillings are a mixture of quartz and dental resin. The bond to and strengthen your teeth. Unlike metallic fillings, they will not corrode over time. Look for a cosmetic dentist to replace your amalgam fillings. Depending on the extent of tooth decay and preparation required, placing a composite filling can take 20 to 45 minutes. But your cosmetic dentist will need to remove the amalgam first. After an exam, your dentist will estimate how long it will take.
It takes training, time, and skill to replace composite fillings.
Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin, Illinois dentist, sponsors this post.