I’m Dr. Bill Eickhoff and I practice general and cosmetic dentistry in North Palm Beach but we serve Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. Today’s topic is something we do everyday…and that’s replacing old silver fillings.
These are photos of 2 very old large silver fillings. My guess is that these might be over 30 years old. The bottom tooth shows evidence of decay and mini fractures. 30 years ago, our only options were either gold fillings, crowns or silver fillings. Obviously silver fillings are cheaper and were used a lot.
There is some ongoing controversy over the safety of silver fillings. Mostly because when a silver filling is first placed it is half mercury. Mercury is a very toxic substance and the implication is that this mercury attacks the immune system. There have been extensive studies about this. Nothing conclusive has ever been established.
They’ve gone so far as to measure patient’s breath after chewing on a recently placed silver filling. The peculiar thing is that initially they can measure mercury vapor on their breath. But do it a year later and they can’t measure any mercury vapor. So where did the mercury go? Mostly likely the mercury evaporated into the atmosphere or was ingested. Still with the number of silver fillings that have been placed in human beings, I’d expect to see an epidemic of auto immune diseases in just about everyone, especially dental personnel. We have not seen it.
I stopped placing silver fillings 30 years ago…. Mostly because the bonded plastic tooth colored fillings are just a better material. Silver has served it’s purpose. Heck this guy chewed on those silver fillings everyday for 30 years. Can you think of any other material that could hold up that well?
Since the upper filling was smaller we could replace it with a bonded filling. The lower tooth needed a porcelain crown due to the size of the filling and the micro cracks. If you have questions about your old silver fillings, I offer a complimentary consultation including digital photos. Call my office at 694-1740 or visit my website at www.drbilldentistry.com for more illustrations.