We just moved to a new town and I had my first checkup with a new dentist. I have some older silver fillings in my mouth and this new dentist was talking to me about replacing all of them with white fillings. They have never bothered me, but now I’ve been researching and wondering if I should do it. What do you think?

Allie, Charlottesville

Dear Allie,

There are situations when dentists recommend replacing silver or mercury fillings.

When should you replace silver or mercury fillings?

If the fillings start to leak, bacteria can get under them and lead to tooth decay. Sometimes those fillings will corrode. Sometimes they deteriorate or crack and have to be replaced. If your fillings are falling into one of these categories and there is something wrong with them, it may be worth considering.  Especially if your filling is leaking, that needs to be replaced.

It’s not cheap to replace your silver fillings with white fillings, though. If you are interested in replacing your old fillings because you like the look of it, that’s your choice to spend the money on them. If there is nothing wrong with your current fillings, though, it just comes down to what you prefer.

Most dentists, especially seeing a patient for the first time, will mention silver fillings, and the option to fill them with white amalgam. It let’s the patient know that option is available. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is necessary.

If your dentist spoke to you about your fillings because there is a problem, you could speak to the dentist about having just that one tooth fixed, or if you want to pay for all of them to be white, that’s your choice. There’s no rush to fix all of them.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.