In the not so distant past, metal fillings were the strongest and most common way to fix broken or decayed teeth. Although they can be fine for quite a while, silver fillings don’t last forever. Our teeth are strong and metal is durable, but they are not completely equal when it comes to resistance to change.
Even when you are cautious or avoid certain extreme temperatures, the metal in your teeth will still respond to changes when going from hot to cold and vice versa. Small gaps around the restoration can cause the filling to move around. Small gaps, ledges and overhangs are food and plaque traps and you might even find that floss gets shredded around these problems areas.
Moisture and Acid
Although they seem like solid surfaces, both your fillings and enamel are full of microscopic pores, capable of absorbing the moisture from your saliva. When this happens, the filling essentially swells at a different rate than your tooth. The tooth often gets stressed due to the metal pushing upward and outward. Acids from plaque also creep around the margins of the metal, causing decay.
Time and Pressure
As time goes on, environmental factors simply begin to deteriorate man made repairs. Constant pressure from chewing and grinding allow micro fractures to form in and around metal fillings, and although a solid amalgam is safe, the potential for leaking metal may have adverse health side effects.
Replacing metal fillings before they leak, break, or cause pain is the #1 goal for our patients. Routine exams and x-rays are the best way to check if your fillings are due for an upgrade and to verify they are in good shape!