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Do I Need a Cosmetic Dentist for White Fillings?

I go to a decent family dentist. However, he’s more of a bread and butter type practice—function over form. I’ve been considering getting rid of my silver fillings for the mercury-free white fillings. My dentist says they’re perfectly safe, but I have my doubts. Even if I’m wrong, it will give me peace of mind to get rid of them. Will I need to switch to a cosmetic dentist for the white fillings?


Dear Frank,

Before and After Mercury Free Fillings

While there are certain procedures, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding, which require you go to a cosmetic dentist with expertise and artistic skill, white fillings aren’t one of them. That being said, I’m going to offer two words of caution.

Who Should Place Mercury-free Fillings?

While the American Dental Association still says that amalgam fillings are safe, it is understandable you want peace of mind by not having anything which contains mercury in your body. It sounds to me like your dentist is trying to discourage you from going to composite fillings. This may be because he is only trained in placing the old amalgam fillings.

These fillings have two very different bonding procedures. If your dentist doesn’t know the new one, don’t pressure him to place them. You’ll regret it if they are placed improperly.

A second consideration is you are not just talking about having white fillings done, but rather replacing your old amalgam fillings. This is a completely different situation.

When silver fillings are removed, it releases mercury vapors and you are at risk of swallowing some of the filling material. Because of that, you need to see a dentist who will know how to protect you from those risks. There is a sanitary amalgam removal that will keep you from the dangers of the mercury as your fillings are switched. Your best bet is to find a mercury-free dentist. They should be familiar with that procedure as well as have the tools on hand.

I hope this helps. This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.