Trading In Silver for A Crown

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If you have silver fillings that are over 15 years old, you probably have serious tooth damage and they may need to be replaced immediately with either crowns or tooth-colored fillings.

If you have silver fillings that are over 15 years old, you probably have serious tooth damage or severe, undetectable decay and there is little doubt that they may need to be replaced immediately with either crowns or tooth-colored fillings. If you have silver (mercury) fillings, which are less than 15 years old, you will probably need to get them replaced by the time they are 15 years old, or if they are diagnosed to be defective by a clinical and radiographic examination, you would be wise to replace them before any further decay or damage is done to your teeth.

Dr. Parviz Azar-Mehr, a Prosthodonist and Professor of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Southern California, explains that these silver or mercury amalgam fillings can be detrimental because, “Amalgam is metal, therefore it is radio opaque (X-Rays cannot go through it), consequently if there is decay under the amalgam filling, it may not show on the X-Ray.”

And that can lead to even worse problems than the original cavity the amalgam was meant to treat. Amalgam tends to cause cracks in the tooth structure around the metal filling. If the cracks begin to break, a root canal or extraction will be necessary.

For many decades, amalgam fillings offered excellent restorative qualities compared to the only alternative, which was extraction. Now, dentists like Dr. Azar-Mehr, can use tooth-colored fillings, which are more beneficial because they are bonded onto your teeth, and they are more esthetically pleasing because your smile will be all white and no one will know you have ever had a cavity.

Dr. Azar-Mehr is a dental specialist with postdoctoral training from London University, New York University and the University of Michigan. Dr. Azar-Mehr has taught dentistry for over 25 years. Presently, Dr. Azar-Mehr teaches in the advanced Prosthodontics at USC School of Dentistry and his private practice is in Los Angeles, California.

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Dr. Parviz Azar-Mehr