Silver fillings have been the go-to material for many decades. Silver fillings are the strongest filling material available, stronger even than white fillings. But the biggest downside to silver fillings is their appearance. Silver fillings stand out. Because of this, some patients may be reluctant to smile on occasion, for fear of their silver fillings showing.

But can you replace silver fillings with more attractive white fillings?

Most Dentists Recommend That You Only Replace Faulty or Old Fillings

If your fillings are old and starting to crack and wear away, then most dentists will happily replace them with white fillings. Dentists often find that older fillings let in bacteria, which leads to dental decay under the filling. The bond between tooth and filling is stronger for white fillings, which reduces the risk of decay occurring under the filling.

But if your silver fillings are still in good condition, it may be best to keep them for now.

You Might Suffer From Sensitivity After Replacement

One of the risks of removing a silver filling is that the underlying tooth structure may become sensitive. This is because the removal of the filling disturbs the nerve in the middle of the tooth. Sometimes, the sensitivity is temporary. But sometimes, the sensitivity remains. When the sensitivity doesn't go away, you will experience constant discomfort and the nerve could die.

You Might End up Needing a Root Canal and Crown

If the removal of a silver filling disturbs the nerve in a tooth, then the nerve could eventually die, even after the new white filling is in place. But before the nerve dies, you will experience a toothache. And once dead, the nerve will rot inside the tooth and will eventually lead to a tooth infection. If this happens, you'll need a root canal to remove the infection.

After the infection is gone, the tooth will weaken, and a white filling may no longer be sufficient. You may then need a dental crown rather than a filling to protect the weakened tooth.

Have Your Dentist Examine Your Silver Fillings First

If you'd like to replace your silver fillings with white fillings, then have your dentist perform an examination of your fillings. If they are happy that your silver fillings can be safely removed and replace, then you can go ahead and replace your silver fillings.

You can replace silver fillings with white fillings. And when the time is right, this is often the best thing to do in terms of aesthetics and comfort.

Contact a local dentist to learn more about this process.