Dealing With The Fallout From Old Tooth Fillings

Dealing With The Fallout From Old Tooth Fillings
  • April 21, 2016

Just because the Mona Lisa is falling apart doesn’t mean your smile should.

Since it was first painted in the early 1500’s, Leonardo DaVinci’s famous masterpiece has required more than its fair share of touch-ups over the centuries. After a string of attacks and repairs, the most famous smile in the world has had plenty of work done to keep millions of people visiting the Louvre museum every year.

In the same way, your smile needs a touch-up every now and again – but especially if you have old fillings.

From what I understand about art restoration, sometimes the techniques that were used to restore paintings can work in the short term, but can cause problems in the future. New solvents are created, techniques are refined, and the end result is a work of art that needs to be retouched less often.

I like to think the same is true for real smiles that have received amalgam fillings in the past.

And by amalgam fillings, I mean metal fillings. This usually refers to silver fillings or to gold fillings, which were extremely popular throughout much of the 20th century, and for good reason: They are extremely strong, yet because they contain “soft” metals, they don’t cause as much wear and tear on opposite natural teeth. A best of both worlds approach.

Or so we thought.

As it turns out, metal amalgam fillings aren’t what they’re cracked up to be – pun intended.


Pain When It’s Hot, Pain When It’s Cold

If you have metal fillings, let me ask you a question: When the temperature is either really hot or really cold outside, do the teeth in which you have metal fillings start to hurt?

Chances are, your answer is yes. This is because metals expand when it’s warm, and contract when it’s cold. Simple physics. Unfortunately, this creates big problems for the tooth that the filling is attached to, because as the metal expands and contracts, so does the tooth.

This phenomenon won’t just cause you pain, because it could also cost you your tooth.

The longer this process happens each year, after each change in the seasons, the metal can actually wear itself out. When this happens, the molecules which bond the metals become brittle and weakened, allow the filling itself to crack and break off in small particles, big chunks, or the entire filling itself!

Can you imagine how terrible that can be?

Even worse is what can happen if you’re not aware that your old gold filling or old silver fillings is starting to fail on you. When a filling starts to break apart, two things happen:


  1. Particles of the metal filling, which usually also contain mercury, can travel throughout your body is accidentally swallowed; and
  2. the exposed underlying tooth is now exposed, root and all. If the filling partially cracks, this can allow bits of food to become trapped between the filling and the tooth, causing rapid decay and even more damage to the tooth you tried to fix all those years ago!


When this happens, you need a Nashua dentist who can repair and replace those fillings with a safer, more reliable alternative.


Composite Fillings For Natural-Looking Smiles

My practice doesn’t use metal amalgam fillings for the same reasons that the art restorers at the Louvre use new techniques: The results are better, and cause less damage to the subject (or patient, in my case!).

Composite fillings are made of an amazing, advanced plastic-like material that can be sculpted into a perfectly natural-looking shape, matched for color relative to the rest of your smile, and “cured” so that it hardened into place.

It won’t break like metal fillings do, and it certainly won’t cause you unnecessary pain depending on which way the wind outside is blowing.

Perhaps their biggest benefit is cosmetic: Because the composite material that the filling is made out of is carefully matched to imitate the color of your smile, you won’t have to think twice about smiling or laughing and exposing a mouth full of metal in the process.


Discover The Benefits For Yourself

I believe that you owe it to yourself to have a metal-free smile when it comes to your teeth fillings, so even if you aren’t experiencing any of the problems we have discussed here today, it doesn’t mean that your metal fillings haven’t already suffered microscopic cracks.

So pick up your phone and give me a call at 603-546-7460, or click here to request an appointment online.