Can Your Lifestyle Cause Dental Fillings to Fail?

Saturday, December 29, 2018



A research paper published in Frontiers in Medicine looked into composite and amalgam fillings and a few of the factors which could lead them to fail.

A few of the variables considered included smoking, drinking alcohol, age, sex, diabetes, periodontal health, and genetics. 4,856 individuals' dental records from 5 years were examined as a part of the study.

Highlights of their research include:

Both types of fillings performed about the same, with composite fillings having a slight edge

Composite fillings are the modern, tooth-colored fillings, while amalgam fillings are the familiar silver fillings which have been used by dentists for over 150 years. Researchers learned during the course of the study that the rate of breakdown for composite and amalgam filings were about the same, with the more modern composite fillings doing just a little better. 

Dental fillings fail at a higher rate for men who smoke and those who drink regularly 

Of the lifestyle variables examined, smoking and alcohol use was revealed to have the most prominent interaction with the failing of fillings. After having dental fillings for 2 years, the rate of failure was highest for those who drank alcohol regularly and in male smokers.

Genetics might be involved for failed fillings

A gene for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2), which is an enzyme that appears in teeth, was examined by those involved with the study. The research team suggested MMP2 might degrade the connection between the teeth and fillings. The researchers suggested that an individual's genes might, in the future, play a bigger part in dentistry. One of the researchers involved in the study, Alexandre Vieira, said: "In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes."

The study supports the idea that composite fillings are alternative to the older amalgam fillings. The links between smoking and drinking and the failure rate of fillings are something dental patients may want to be mindful of, too.

Haven't had your fillings checked recently? Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Lechner now!

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