Cosmetic Replacement of Silver Fillings

It now makes sense for most people to replace silver fillings with bonded ceramic restorations, which have superior esthetics and strength. While silver fillings last 12-15 years, a ceramic restoration can easily last a lifetime with proper care. Though the initial cost of bonded ceramics is higher, the investment in “forever dentistry” makes sense for most people.

Silver Fillings vs. Bonded Ceramics

The limited life span of a silver filling is a major disadvantage. Teeth need to last a lifetime; a silver filling placed at age 20 will need to be replaced several times. Every time a filling is replaced, tooth structure is destroyed. Eventually so little structure remains that re-filling is impossible; the tooth can be lost. Silver is the least esthetic restorative material, as it quickly tarnishes to black-silver and stains adjacent tooth structure, It makes sense for most people under 60 to replace silver fillings with newly developed bonded ceramic restorations, which can easily last a lifetime.

With new generation bonded ceramics (especially zirconium oxide), precisely fitting all ceramic restorations are now possible. These materials are beautifully esthetic and do not stain. Initial cost is higher: approximately $850 vs. $200 for a traditional filling. However most insurance plans will cover 50% of the cost, so lifetime bonded ceramic restorations make financial sense as well.

Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Restoration

You can have your silver fillings replaced with bonded ceramic restorations. This process requires two appointments.

Your First Appointment:

  1. The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
  2. An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
  3. A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.

Your Second Appointment:

  1. The temporary onlay is removed.
  2. A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
  3. Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
  4. The tooth is then polished.

The tooth is restored to a natural look and feel. The entire biting surface is protected by a lifetime material.