Replacing silver fillings with white – why bother?


I dunno when I got vain enough to consider replacing silver fillings a serious priority in my life... oh, wait no – I do know. It was when I joined Snapchat – follow me @rosemarymaccabe for vanity aplenty – and started spending at least an hour a day staring at my own moving image in the front camera of my phone. (I blame Snapchat for a lot of things in my life.) Seriously: Snapchat is the number one reason I even noticed that my silver fillings were so heinous, and started frantically Googling "replacing silver fillings". I hadn't realised that, when I talked, my silver fillings were really noticeable, particularly on my lower back teeth – obviously because, in photographs, I either have my duck face on or I'm smiling incredibly naturally, like so...

I've always had dodgy teeth; growing up, we didn't have fluoride in our water and, as a result (citation needed but y'all know it makes sense) I have a whole heap of fillings. Obviously, as I'm old, they all got done in dark silver – because we weren't this vain in the 90s.

Cut to 2016 and I was so incredibly unhappy with my appearance.... Okay, that's lies. I wasn't. My silver fillings bothered me, I'll grant you, and when MyDental got in touch and offered to hook me up with some dental treatment*, I thought, perfect – I'll set to replacing silver fillings with white ones, and all of my life's problems will melt away!

Replacing silver fillings – what's involved?

Essentially, the act of replacing silver fillings with white is like getting a brand new filling, with the added step of removing the original filling. Your gums are numbed (this is my least favourite part because I can never look away from the enormous needle, and I keep expecting them to rub the flavoured numbing gel on first, like they did when I was eight years old) and the tooth is drilled until the old filling is all removed.

Simultaneously, the dental nurse (aka Very Helpful And Comforting Dental Sidekick) hoovers out all of the extracted filling, so that no mercury is ingested. It's really straightforward.

Once the cavity has been excavated, so to speak, and all of the amalgam (silver filling) removed, it's refilled using the composite – which, this time, is tooth-coloured.

How much does it cost?

This is a little like the piece of string question; it depends, largely, on the size of the cavity. Mine have all been pretty big fillings in my molars, so each one would cost €120 – I've had five replaced, so I'd be looking at a €600 outlay.

What are the drawbacks?

Before I had these done, I asked my Snapchat fam what they thought, and people were really divided. A few told me that my teeth would be far more sensitive; they said that the new fillings wouldn't last as long and that I'd be quite sore for a few days – even weeks – after replacing white fillings.

However, I honestly have had – aside from the needle – zero pain. I've felt zero sensitivity. I haven't noticed a single difference with chewing, drinking hot or cold drinks... nada. Zip. Zilch.

Judging by the reaction, people clearly respond differently – maybe I just have a super high dental pain threshold! But my teeth feel the exact same, both in terms of when I run my tongue over them and when I'm eating. There is no difference whatsoever!

Dr Maria at MyDental did warn me that the white fillings may be ever so slightly weaker than silver – but I guess I'm taking that as it comes. I've had to have a few silver fillings patched up in the past, when they cracked or fell out, so I'm sure that may happen with these too but, so far, so similar.

Will I look like Julia Roberts afterwards?

Clearly, yes (see picture above).

Okay, so the most important thing (for me) is: my teeth don't bother me on Snapchat any more. That is the most ridiculous sentence I have ever written down, but it's the truth.

My teeth don't look totally pure and white, mind you; the silver fillings have discoloured some parts of my tooth, so I have the odd dark line where the old filling touched the tooth, but nothing major and nothing anyone but me would notice (as no one but me spends hours examining the inside of my mouth).

Is replacing silver fillings worth it?

This is the million-dollar question. Honestly? I love the results and I am really glad I had it done – although it's obviously easy for me to say that, as I didn't pay for it.

It's a bit like the Dyson hairdryer question, isn't it? It's not going to be worth it if you don't have a lot of spare cash and have three children to think about and a massive mortgage.

If you're someone without a lot of financial strain, for whom "replacing silver fillings" is high up your priority list, then it will seem worth it.

If I hadn't received my treatment FOC, honestly, I would still do it – but, chances are, I would have done one filling so far, and be waiting another six months to save up for the next one. Because right now, "save for house deposit", "book holiday to New York" and "save to buy your own engagement ring"** are higher up my list than replacing my fillings would be. That's my prerogative.

PS Yes, I FaceTuned my teeth whiter – don't act like it doesn't look amazing.

*The team at MyDental looks after my dental treatments FOC; I am not under any requirement to blog, snap, tweet or Instagram about them. I will always disclose if I have received a free product or service, if a post is sponsored or contains affiliate links; for more, check out my disclaimer.

**Just to be clear, this is a hilarious joke. I wouldn't mind sharing the cost of an engagement ring, but it's not in the pipeline for the next while. I swear, I'm not even thinking about it. No, seriously, it doesn't bother me. I mean, I'd say yes if he asked but... No, no, I so don't mind if it doesn't happen for years. Well, like, not that many years. Maybe a few years. Ha ha hahahahahahaha *stops laughing abruptly, walks off*