A research paper found in Frontiers in Medicine took a look at amalgam and composite fillings as well as a number of the factors which might lead them to fail.
Among the variables examined were age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, periodontal health, diabetes, and genes. 4,856 patients' dental records over five years were examined as a part of the study.
Below are a few of their findings.
Both filling types performed about the same, with composite showing slightly more durability
Composite fillings are the more modern, tooth-colored fillings, while amalgam is the traditional silver dental fillings that have been used by dentists for over a century. Over the course of their look into fillings, the team found that the failure rates for composite and amalgam filings were almost identical, with composite fillings doing slightly better (about 2.05% better at the 5-year mark).
Male smokers and those who drink have dental fillings fail at a higher rate
Smoking and drinking exhibited the most prominent interaction with the failing of fillings of the lifestyle choices examined. After having fillings for 2 years, the rate of failure was highest for individuals who were regular drinkers and in male smokers.
Genetics may be partly responsible for fillings that fail
The gene for an enzyme that appears in teeth named MMP2 (matrix metalloproteinase) was examined by researchers involved in the study. Matrix metalloproteinase may degrade the attachment between a filling and tooth, according to the researchers. A person's genetic background may one day be a bigger element in dentistry, they suggested. "In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes," said Alexandre Vieira, one of the researchers.
The findings of the study further enforce the idea that white composite tooth fillings are a good replacement for traditional amalgam fillings. The links between lifestyle and the failure rate of fillings are something patients may like to keep in mind also.
If you haven't had your dental fillings looked at recently, consider scheduling your next exam with Dr. Sachs now.