Dear Dr. Hall,
Your web site is very helpful and well organized!
I read the Blog question dated July 31, 2007 “Should I let my dentist replace my fillings?” and in my case the cosmetic dentist I just had a consultation with wants to replace my four amalgam fillings (there is nothing wrong with them).
He says that they may crack in the future and he wants to perform a T-Scan after the fillings. He also said that if these fillings are not done now, but changed later, the T-Scan would have to be performed again to measure the proper occlusion.
Should risk replacing these fillings now? What if he cracks a tooth and then I have the added expense of a crown!
Evelyn from California
I am suspicious. But please understand that I have limited information here and can only give you my impressions. Maybe you really need these fillings and all of these things you say. I don’t know. But I’m suspicious. At least your dentist is honest enough to tell you there’s nothing wrong with the teeth.
You could say, about any tooth that has an amalgam filling, that the tooth MAY crack. In fact, teeth without any fillings at all MAY crack. I’ve seen that happen. MAY is a pretty loose word. I think you need more than that.
When I did exams, I looked for cracks that were starting to form and already present, and if we saw that, we would do a new bonded white filling to strengthen the tooth, or, if the existing filling was large, we would do a porcelain onlay or a dental crown.
I am suspicious of any dentist who recommends replacing fillings when he or she can see nothing wrong. To me, this is a patient’s option and the dentist shouldn’t try to sway the patient one way or the other.
– Dr. Hall