Silver or White Fillings for Daughter?

housefulFebruary 6, 2006

My 8 year old daughter has two extremely tiny cavities in her very last top molars on either side. She has excellent dental hygiene, but the Dr said the ridges in her teeth are fairly deep and she probably couldn't quite get back there well.

My insurance covers silver fillings 100%. I have to call to find out what percent of white fillings they cover, but the nurse did tell me that two white fillings will cost $250. In general, we can afford this. But because of the size and location of the cavities, I am tempted to go with the silver. I would rather save that money in case any of the kids gets larger or more visible cavities.

What would you do?

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Are they permanent teeth or the baby ones?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 7:26PM
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These are her permanent 6 year molars.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 8:06PM
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In my opinion, if you can possibly swing it, go for the white.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:34PM
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While I'm not a dentist or any kind of expert I'd say go with the white ones... I read somewhere that the silver fillings contain mercury... I mentioned it to my dentist, years ago, and he said it wasn't enough mercury to worry about... Two months ago I chipped the back a tooth, went to the same dentist and he filled it with the white stuff...


    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:57PM
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I probably wouldn't pay for the white fillings. Are they superior in any way? You're not going to see them, so if they're not, why pay?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 11:44PM
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White fillings are not suppose to shrink over the years (causing them to have to be removed and re-done). PLUS they do not leak the mercury. I wish I had the info, but there may be some risk from the silver filling MAY is the operative words, I have a cousin who had MS symptoms (couldn't walk, excessive pain, etc) had her silver fillings removed and the ilness went away, she now walks, dances, etc. Her mom was convinced it had to do with the silver fillings (the alamagom I'm pretty sure).

I'd say go with the white.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:26AM
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Major US and international health organizations have determined that silver (amalgam) fillings are safe because the mercury is stable as a dental filling. Some people are still skeptical about these fillings, but probably billions of fillings have been done this way without ill effect.

Here's the American Dental Association's page describing the ways teeth can be filled. Click on the PDF document.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Dental Assn.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 10:13AM
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those fillings on the six year molars may show when she's an adult and yawns or laughs. Do her a favor and go with white. It really depends on where they are on the tooth.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 5:30PM
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Another reason to go with the white filling is that there's no pain... The white filling I had, for a chipped tooth, took about 15 minutes in all... He cleaned the tooth with water, dried it, placed the white stuff in the hole, put a piece of something on it and stuck some sort of light in my mouth for a bit until it 'dried'... Then he took that piece of paper or whatever it was out of my mouth, made sure the filling was smooth and sent me on my way.... No drilling!!!!!


    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 8:01PM
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Go with the white. A reliable dentist will tell you that while there is no proof nor positive indicators that the mercury in an amalgum may cause any harm....the white is safer.
And if you have a mouth full of mercury fillings, there will be many more times the mercury released by having them removed that ever might leach out over the rest of your life.
And Rita....the reason your new plastic filling was so simple is because he was just repairing a chip....not removing decay and filling a tooth.
But....gow ith the white won't be sorry....t.he only reason not to is because of the cost.....and one more thing....if you have teeth that may be sensitive to hot or cold, the white fillings will eliminate that.
I still have my 6 year molars.....they now have very expensive gold crowns and even more expensive root canals....and if they had been properly filled with the modern techniques, I would have saved thousands of dollars....not to mention pain and time sitting in a dentist's chair.
I usually say "go for the gold"...but this time I say go for the plastic!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 3:36PM
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I'm a dental assistant... I say, if anyone wants to put amalgam in your mouth.. get up and run out! Even if you don't believe all the studies about mercury, etc... it's a bad filling and will have to be replaced down the road. I have never seen my dr. take out an amalgam that hasn't had decay under it... it corrodes, leaks, cracks,.. it's gross.. and OSHA won't let us come close to touching once it's out of your mouth.. so why do you want it in there in the first place?? It's bad anyway you look at it.. Most of the time when we have to take out an amalgam because of the above reasons, it requires a root canal, or crown or some other major restoration because of the damage caused by the filling.. Just do it right the first time.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 6:13PM
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Sally, not only have you and the others convinced me to use the white, you have convinced me to have all the silver removed from my mouth, AAAGGGHH!

We lived on an AFB when I was little and the six of us seemed to have had lots of cavities all at once. We joked that it was a conspiracy by the dentist because once we moved, none of us really had cavities after that. Now two of my sisters have had some of their fillings crack and fall out. I think I better have mine done before an emergency arises.

The good news in that I think my dentist office is mistaken on the price. I still have to call, but from my booklet it seems the price per white filling is only about $50. That is much more manageable.

Thank you all.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 9:11AM
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Oh Houseful, you made me laugh! You just asked a simple question and look what has happened! Talk about a can of worms!

You were lucky to get good dental care as a child.

I hope others here would agree with me that you do not need to tackle those silver fillings of yours on an emergency basis. Your dentist would probably tell you they are fine. However, as time goes by, if he sees some that need redoing or show wear, you could replace with white at that time. You could do a few each year to spread out the expense.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 8:39PM
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I thought about having a few done each year, but that means MORE NEEDLES!!

I am trying to convince my daughter that the needle is less painful than an immunization, but truthfully, the dentist needle bothers me far more than a regular shot.

And I verified it is only $50 per tooth for the white. I am very relieved.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Having an amalgum filling removed releases some of that amalgum/mercury....don't do it unless it's necessary.
I have many amalgum fillings in my mouth that are fine.....but I won't get any new ones!
And if the needle is that bad....your dentist is unskilled at giving it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 5:54PM
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I think the problem with the dental shots is that they take so long. Regular shots are just in and out, and it's over. I count or do yoga breathing while the shot is being given. I hate needles too, houseful.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 10:02PM
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my last dentist swabbed on a topical medicine to numb pain before he injected the real stuff. that really helped

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 7:40PM
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Well the needles don't hurt as much as they used too... It might be because the dentist stopped using the square needles... LOL ( remember the old metal syringes... )

I still don't like the needle... When the stuff wears off I have pain where the needle went in...


    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 10:13PM
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Please remember....the reason that Sally the dental assisant has not seen her Dr. remove an amalgum filling that was not decayed beneath and generally nasty is because she works for a good dentist who doesn't remove fillings unless they are decayed beneath and nasty.
I have a lot of amalgum fillings from the dark ages still in my mouth....
Just be smart about new fillings.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:20PM
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OK, so I won't touch my silver fillings unless I have a problem.

As for the shots, I have seen many different dentists over the years and they always put the topical ointment on first. But I am always sore afterward too. A regular shot goes into soft tissue which just doesn't seem as bad as the needle going into the gums.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 6:13PM
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My dentist using topical gel, and warms the novacaine in a bread warmer, so it's close to body temperature. Barely feel anything.
Silver fillings are stronger. White fillings can chip if chewing on hards things like ice cubes, etc. Depends where they are in the mouth.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 9:35PM
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You may also wish to ask her dentist to coat her chewing surfaces to prevent cavities. Maybe fluoride treatments for her could help. Are you in an area with fluoride in your water?

I think the encouragement to go with white fillings is good. I hope all goes well and you are both pleased.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 5:53PM
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