Dental Fillings – San Diego & La Jolla

We are a mercury-free practice. 

However, we do not routinely remove all silver fillings regardless of their status unless you request us to do so for cosmetic or health reasons, or to remove all the mercury in your mouth, which some people choose to do.

It is our belief that only those silver fillings that are displaying signs of decay and/or breakdown are in need of replacement. We will examine your teeth every 6 months, take photos to be able to monitor changes and show you what is going on, and only recommend replacement of fillings that are necessary to maintain the health of your teeth.

If any fillings require replacement due to cavities or breakdown, we will show you our findings, discuss the recommendations, and involve you in the treatment decisions.

Every person’s approach to their own mouth is unique, and we value your needs and desires. We are always happy to discuss the topic further and provide additional resources.

Are You Ready to Smile With Confidence Again?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.


Background Information:

Many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that although they may last you 20-30 years, by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure and over the years develop new decay and cracks around them.

Composite fillings are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.

Disadvantages of Silver fillings:

Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.

Very commonly teeth with old silver fillings end up breaking or requiring a root canal if not treated in a timely manner.

Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.

Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations

There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. They are bonded to the teeth, creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.

Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contains fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!

The result is a beautiful smile!

Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Restoration

You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations. 

  1. The old filling is removed along with any additional decay in a manner that minimizes mercury exposure.
  2. A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new filling.
  3. Bonding agent is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light sets it.
  4. The new composite filling is placed in increments to build up the natural shape of the tooth.
  5. The tooth surface is shaped to make your bite comfortable
  6. The tooth is polished.

Often times though, the silver fillings are very large, and the areas of decay and breakdown around them, make the involved area of the tooth even larger. In cases where more than 50% of the tooth structure is involved, a tooth colored porcelain crown will be recommended to strengthen the tooth and protect it. 

Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the teeth are protected!