Chad Schnabel, DMD • Alexandra Schnabel, DMD

  • Cosmetic Dentistry Savannah GA
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Replace Metal Fillings

Silver-mercury amalgam fillings have been the choice of many dentists in Savannah for restorations from cavities. Over time, results have shown that metal fillings don’t bond well to teeth, eventually letting decay seep into the tooth. The appearance of a dark spot on the surface of the tooth is not visually pleasing, especially when the metal filling is noticeable when you talk or laugh.


Many dentists in Savannah still use silver-mercury filling material. We offer durable composite resin fillings that bond to the tooth, greatly reducing the chance of decay. The filling matches the shade of the tooth that is being restored, making for an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Many of our cosmetic dentistry patients start with replacing all their metal fillings.

Metal Filling Replacement: Why have your fillings replaced?

Despite recent internet hype, metal fillings, including those with mercury in them, do not pose a health risk. The dental amalgam is a stable metal alloy that is approved by the American Dental Association. Nonetheless, many people choose to replace their metal filling for quite a few strong reasons. These include, but are not limited to:

Aesthetics: Many people find the dark spot created by a metal filling unattractive, and prefer to replace it with a more natural tooth-colored material.

Cracking: Metal fillings do not bond as well to teeth as newer materials. Bite forces may be transferred from the filling into the tooth, leading to cracking over time.

Decay: Since metal fillings do not bond well, decay can occur beneath the filling.

X-rays: Metal fillings can block dental X-rays, making it tough for your dentist to see emerging tooth decay until it is fairly extensive. Tooth-colored fillings do not have this problem.

Metal dental fillings are considered a safe alternative to modern tooth-colored materials. However, they do have some specific drawbacks. Your dentist will carefully examine your mouth and help you decide whether to replace your metal fillings.

Silver Fillings vs. Composite or Tooth-Colored Fillings

There has been some discussion about the difficulty in seeing cavities under silver fillings. Because the material is opaque, cavities won’t become visible until they are quite extensive.

In tooth-colored fillings or composite fillings, the material is not blocked in an X-ray. The seal between the tooth and filling can also serve as an indication that something is wrong underneath. This provides an early warning signal when the seal area becomes discolored.

Fillings that you may have had years ago could be hiding cracks in the teeth. As patients age into their 40’s and 50’s, the possibility of cracks increase. There is a lack of adhesion in metal fillings to the actual tooth. There is some evidence that biting force is transmitted from the filling to the tooth. The larger the filling, the more likely the tooth may be to crack. With composite or “white” filling material, the adhesion to the tooth is much better. Chewing force or impact is distributed more evenly, preventing the possibility of cracking the tooth. We believe the tooth could be 15-2-% stronger with a tooth-colored filling, compared to a silver filling.


If you are unsure about your metal fillings, schedule a consultation and we can discuss the options. Dr. Schnabel will inspect your teeth to determine the condition of the fillings and if any tooth decay is occurring. Untreated decay may lead to an infection. Replacing your metal fillings could benefit the long-term health of your teeth.

There is no need to replace fillings based on a concern for the mercury in silver-mercury amalgam fillings. Most dental fillings are dental amalgam, which is a stable metal alloy made from mercury, tin, silver, copper and other metals. The American Dental Association has approved the use of dental amalgam as a safe and reliable treatment for filling cavities and dental restoration.

Replacing silver amalgam fillings with white fillings

There’s not a hard and fast rule for how to approach the topic for every patient. Some people want to schedule all replacements in one visit. Others want to replace silver fillings over time. For cosmetic reasons, many patients start with the most visible fillings.

Whether you are looking for a Savannah dentist to replace your mercury amalgam fillings (metal fillings) with composite (white fillings) or would like an opinion on the condition of your fillings, please contact us using the form below. If it has been a while since your last cleaning, why not schedule an appointment today. If you suffer from dental anxiety, ask us about our wide variety of dental sedation options to make your visit as comfortable and worry free as possible. We want your visit to our office to be a happy and positive one.

Schedule an Appointment

at (912) 354-1366
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