smile design logo

THE SILVER GENERATION

Jan 27, 2023
misc image
There is a generation full of wisdom, perseverance, patience and yes, silver fillings!

The last decades of the 20th century were filled with great technological advances and dentistry was not the exception. One of the most welcomed changes was the advent of metal free restorations. I was born in the seventies and as you probably know, I grew up among dentists and all the awesome instruments that dentists at the time had to use to mold, press and burnish metal fillings into people’s mouths. So if you lived in those times, chances are you had some, if not a mouthful of silver fillings.

These days, silver fillings and metal caps are becoming a rarity. Most dental offices have switched to the more cosmetic composite and ceramic materials. That means that people like me who still have silver in their mouths, have had those fillings for two or more decades, and that is a pretty good track record of durability if you ask me. In fact, if you still have silver fillings, it is likely there’s some gray in your hair too.

With all the different opinions about keeping or removing the silver in your mouth I couldn’t help but chime in with mine based on my 20 years of seeing these restorations at work. So, here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • You don’t necessarily have to change your silver fillings if they’re doing ok. 
  •  We mostly rely on visual clues to determine the right time for taking action because in most cases, a tooth won’t hurt unless the damage has become too advanced to fix conservatively.
  • Metal blocks the X-Rays, so it is possible to overlook cavities that are developing under metal restorations. 
  • A gap develops between the tooth and the filling over time, allowing direct bacterial colonization of sensitive core tooth structures.
  • Replacing large silver fillings is risky and in many cases it requires removal of additional tooth structure making the tooth easy to break unless a crown or cap is used to cover the tooth.

If you’re part of the proud Silver Filling generation and would like to know the current condition of your fillings, let us know on your next visit and we’ll take some intraoral photographs and discuss your most immediate needs.

 

Oscar Marin DDS

“Silver Generation Spokesman”

4.92857