With his family background in dentistry, Dr. Mark Davis prefers a more conservative approach to dentistry. While he does not believe that every amalgam or “silver” filling needs to be replaced just because, Dr. Mark Davis does recommend replacing amalgam or “silver” fillings in certain cases. The two most common reasons why you would need to replace an old filling are if there is new decay around the edges of the filling and if the old filling is causing your tooth to fracture or crack.
When there is new decay around the edges of your old filling, Dr. Mark Davis can see the decay during his thorough examination of your mouth and you yourself may have even seen the dark discolorations on your tooth. When your old amalgam or “silver” filling was done, your previous dentist would have removed the decay that was present at that time and then packed in an amalgam material. Simple retention is what has held that old filling in place for years, as there was no seal placed at the edges of the filling. Over time, with no bonded closure between your tooth and the filing material, microscopic bacteria have been slipping into the tiniest of fissures, growing in number and size until you have new decay that is visible to the naked eye. When Dr. Mark Davis replaces your old amalgam or “silver” filling with a composite or “white” filling, he will bond the new filling to your tooth. This procedure will create a seamless connection between your tooth and your new filling so that bacteria cannot sneak back into your tooth around the edges of the filling. Many times, if treated early enough, the new decay is minimal and Dr. Mark Davis can restore the health of your tooth with a composite or “white” filling. Other times, however, if you have waited to have the decay removed from your tooth or if the original filling was very large, Dr. Mark Davis will need to restore your tooth with a new crown or “cap.”
When you begin to see fractures or cracks on the sides or tops of one of your teeth with old amalgam or “silver” fillings, you are unfortunately not alone. Due to the fact that amalgam or “silver” fillings relied strictly on retention to hold them in place, they are essentially little wedges in your teeth. Over time, your upper and lower teeth bite together, driving those old metal wedges further and further into your teeth. Just as an axe wedge will eventually chop through a tree, your old amalgam or “silver” fillings will eventually crack through your tooth. Once you begin to see fractures and cracks in any of your teeth, it is only a matter of time until that section is completely broken off. Dr. Mark Davis always hopes to be able to save a tooth that has broken, although this often requires more extensive treatment such as a root canal if the tooth breaks too deeply. In addition, your tooth might break off under your gum tissue, or it may split down the middle, causing it to be non-repairable and requiring an extraction. Of course, the simplest fix when your tooth is beginning to fracture and crack is to stop the damage early by choosing to have Dr. Mark Davis create a custom crown or “cap” for your tooth. Before placing your new crown, Dr. Mark Davis will remove your old filling and any fractures or decay, and then your new crown will hold your healthy tooth together.
Although Dr. Mark Davis will always inform you of any dental concerns in your mouth and he will present you with your treatment options, he does believe that it is your choice to proceed with any or even no dental treatment. While it is easiest, and often most cost-effective, to treat your teeth before they break or hurt, Dr. Mark Davis will respect your decisions for scheduling your dental treatment, and he will answer any questions you may have.