On a daily basis we see people with broken teeth and toothaches caused by old silver fillings because they expand and contract with temperature and time like the mercury in old thermometers. Now these teeth need more extensive treatment such as crowns, root canals or even extractions. Frequently, there is decay under these fillings, which is hard to detect even with x-rays because of the breakdown of the amalgam. Today with recent advances in caries (decay) detection and bonded restorations to seal out the decay from forming at the margins these teeth can be restored utilizing the latest in dental materials and techniques preserving as much natural tooth as possible. Generally speaking, teeth that have been prepared for silver fillings have holes that are simply too big or undercut to replace with direct bonded composite fillings. Therefore we recommend removing the old silver fillings, use a decay detector to eliminate any decay, insulate the tooth, take a digital impression (CEREC - One Visit Dentistry), fabricate an Inlay or Onlay in our office and bond it, all in the same appointment. We prefer to restore the tooth as conservatively as possible rather than just cutting the tooth down for a crown. The more we can conserve your natural tooth, the better. Of course, in certain situations crowns are necessary.