For many people replacing metal fillings with tooth matching composite fillings is justified with the cosmetic improvements alone. However, the most important replacement reasons are actually preventative. Over time, traditional metal fillings, or amalgams erode around their edges, leaving small crevases that slowly allow bacteria to build up and decay to set in, typically resulting in cavities. Additionally, old metal fillings often crack and allow decay to seep deep into the underlying tooth, resulting in subsurface cavities or even root damage. Neglecting eroded or damaged fillings is one of the most frequent cause of major dental treatments.
If you have old fillings that are chipped, cracked or outlined with the slightest erosion, you should consider having the fillings replaced. Of course your options are to replace them with new metal fillings or composites – it is your choice. Metal fillings are tried and tested. Composite fillings, although a bit more expensive, are cosmetically pleasing, have harder surfaces and do not erode like metal fillings. Regardless of your choice, keep your fillings in good health to avoid major treatment requirements.