Your dentist may recommend replacing your metal fillings with composite material when they deem it necessary. This mainly depends on a number of reasons. It is important to replace your metal fillings if they show a cavity or become defective. If cavities are not treated, they can lead to a tooth infection, also known as abscess. Replacing metal fillings can sometimes come with long-term benefit of the tooth.

Metal fillings replacement for aesthetic reasons should only be carried out after careful consideration. Your dentist should carefully examine if the replacement will compromise the long-term health of your tooth.

Composition of Metal Fillings

The majority of metal fillings are composed of dental amalgam. This is a stable alloy made with 50% mercury, copper, tin, silver, and other metals. Despite the increasing concern in the use of mercury in dental amalgam, the American Dental Association alleges it is a safe, effective, and reliable treatment option for dental cavities.

Risks of Replacing Metal Fillings

Metal fillings, also known as silver fillings or dental amalgam, involve elementary mercury. It allows the release of lower levels of mercury vapor which can be inhaled. However, exposure to high levels of mercury vapor is linked with adverse side effects in the kidneys and the brain.

The FDA approved the use of mercury in metal fillings after most reliable studies demonstrated that its levels are far much below what can be considered dangerous or harmful.

The potential effects of metal fillings on pregnant women and their developing babies are still unknown because there are no comprehensive clinical studies.

There are some people who develop allergic reactions due to mercury and other components in dental amalgam. Reactions may include the formation of oral lesions.

Before deciding whether to replace your metal dental fillings, speak with your doctor to find out if there are other alternatives.

Replacing Metal Fillings Options

  • Composite

Thanks to technological advances in dental composite techniques and materials, there are many options to create attractive, natural-looking smiles. For the past few decades, researchers have developed esthetic materials, including composite compounds and porcelain that look like natural teeth. This has equipped patients and dentists with a number of choices in selecting the type of materials to use in metal filling replacements.

  • Porcelain

Replacing metal fillings with porcelain is usually determined by the metal filling condition and your dentist’s suggestion. Your dentist may recommend replacement using porcelain, gold restorations, and composite resins. Porcelain or gold restorations may take a little longer to replace and can require more than one appointment.


There are two main reasons why replacing dental metal fillings can become necessary. Your dentist can recommend it if your metal filling becomes defective or show a cavity. Before replacing metal fillings, discuss it with your doctor to find out more about the best option that suits your need. You can also research the safety, potential risks involved, and whether there are better alternatives.