Could I Be Allergic to My Dental Fillings?

Back when amalgam fillings were the norm at most dental practices, problems would occasionally come up with patients being allergic to their fillings. According to Dr. Gertrude Lee, a family dentist in Rocklin, it is extremely rare for a person to be allergic to today’s new white composite fillings.

Speaking from her office at Rocklin Family Dental Group in Rocklin, California, the family dentist explains that the materials used in dental fillings have come a long way in the past 30 years. Whereas silver amalgam fillings were the norm back in the 1970s and 1980s, it’s rare for a dentist to use that material for fillings today.

Dr. Lee says that there are multiple reasons for the decrease in use of silver amalgam fillings. First, as mentioned before, a fair number of patients were allergic to silver fillings. Unfortunately, most people did not realize that they had an allergy until the fillings were already in their mouths. The second reason why most dentists prefer not to use silver fillings these days is because the material has a tendency to expand over time, leading to countless tooth fractures and cracks.

Finally, Dr. Lee says, concerns over the high mercury levels in silver amalgam fillings have led the majority of dentists to rid their practices of silver fillings entirely. At Rocklin Family Dental Group, Dr. Lee has not used silver amalgam fillings in more than 20 years.

Dr. Lee does still see quite a few of these silver fillings, however, when she’s removing them and replacing them with updated white composite fillings. Many patients who had silver fillings put in 20 or 25 years ago are having to revisit the dentist now that their silver fillings have expanded and cracked their teeth. Dr. Lee sees patients with this problem on a frequent basis, and she always recommends replacing those expanded silver fillings with white composite versions instead.

Unless a person is allergic to his filling or his filling has expanded and cracked his tooth, Dr. Lee says it is usually best to just keep the filling in place. Although it’s always good to be proactive about dental health, Dr. Lee and the team at her office recommend not replacing any fillings unless it is absolutely necessary. However, patients who have decay underneath their silver fillings need to get them removed and replaced right away, since that decay can lead to significant health problems if left untreated.

Although patients are rarely allergic to white composite fillings, it isn’t uncommon for patients to have their silver amalgam fillings removed due to an allergy – even today. This is something that anyone with one or more silver fillings should keep in mind if sudden tooth sensitivity or pain ever begins to occur.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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