Today there is an increasing awareness about mercury and its toxicity as a dental filling. As a result, there is a greater trend amidst patients wanting to remove silver fillings not just for esthetics but also for health reasons. Conventional dentists as well as holistic dentists are assisting in removal of the silver fillings in the US and European countries. However, the replacement choices for silver/mercury fillings are very few. Those replacement choices are as follows:
- Replacing with another new silver-mercury filling: Believe or not, this is the most wanted option by insurance companies as it is the cheapest for their bottom line! Hence it is still done many a times.
- Replacing with white bonding material: This is a plastic material also called as composite filling. Many conventional dentists as well as holistic dentists use this as first replacement choice!
- Replacing with White Ceramic-Porcelain material: Insurance companies will find all possible reasons to deny this and usually pay only for silver-mercury or plastic filling material. This is however the best replacement choice.
- Replacing with Full crown or cap: This can range from metal only crowns to metal-porcelain combination crowns or only pure porcelain crowns. No matter which material is used, a crown is usually an aggressive treatment choice. This should be used as a last resort.
- Ask that he/she go invest in that technology! By doing this you are a patient are helping create a transformational change in dentistry.
- Ask that the dentist find a way to do conservative Inlay/Onlay using conventional labs that use CAD-CAM technology to make these conservative ceramic fillings. Takes a little longer than CAD-CAM single visit dentistry but still better than getting plastic fillings or aggressive crowns.
- Look for a dentist who already has CAD-CAM technology and has been doing conservative restorations for many years. There is a good learning curve associated with this technology and hence find a dentist who knows what he or she is doing with the CAD-CAM technology. But also make sure that the CAD-CAM dentist is not using the technology to make crowns instead of partial crowns or inlays. (Read Choosing Inlay, Onlay and Partial crowns)