My son has about three of those old-fashioned silver fillings. I want to get rid of them and get him the newer white fillings, but his dentist said that it is not safe to remove them. Is that right? If it isn’t safe to remove them, how is it safe to have them?
Whether or not it is safe to remove silver fillings depends on the procedure of the dentist who is doing the removal. The first thing you should know is that silver fillings (dentists call them amalgam fillings) are mostly made out of mercury. This is a known toxin, which can make the removal part dangerous. However, there is a sanitary amalgam removal procedure, which allows a dentist to remove those old silver amalgam fillings safely.
Just because there is a procedure to do this, does not mean your son’s pediatric dentist knows how to do it or even has the equipment to do it right. My suggestion is you find a dentist who advertises as a mercury-free dentist. They are much more likely to understand this procedure.
One word of caution. You did not mention how old your son was. If he’s young, you will want to make sure the dentist you take him to is also good at working with children. The procedure to place the white composite fillings is completely different than the old method with silver fillings. It is important the composite is kept dry as it is being placed, so he or she will need to know how to keep a child still and unafraid.
In some cases, it is better to use some form of sedation dentistry when doing this type of procedure. But, that depends on the dentist and the child.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.