Can Lifestyle Choices Cause Dental Fillings to Fail?

A paper published in Frontiers in Medicine took a look at composite and amalgam dental fillings and a number of factors which can cause them to fail.

Among the factors looked at were age, sex, smoking, drinking alcohol, periodontal health, diabetes, and genetics. 4,856 individuals’ dental records from five years were examined for the research project.

A few takeaways from the study:

Composite and amalgam fillings have similar durability

Amalgam fillings are the silver-colored fillings that have been used for over one hundred and fifty years, while composite fillings are the newer, tooth-colored fillings. Over the course of their research, the team found that the failure rates for composite and amalgam filings were about the same, with the more modern composite fillings doing a little better.

Dental fillings are more likely to fail for people who drink regularly and male smokers

Smoking and alcohol use displayed the largest correlation with dental filling failures of the lifestyle choices examined. After having fillings for two years, the rate of failure was highest in male smokers and in patients who drank alcohol regularly.

Genetics may be involved in dental fillings that fail

The gene for an enzyme which can be found in teeth known as MMP2 (matrix metalloproteinase) was watched out for by researchers involved in the study. The research team suggests matrix metalloproteinase could weaken the connection between a tooth and filling. A patient’s genes may be more important in dentistry one day, they suggested. “…genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes,” said Alexandre Vieira, a member of the team.

The results of the study support the idea that tooth-colored composite dental fillings are a good alternative to the silver amalgam fillings. Patients may want to be mindful of the connection between lifestyle and the failure of dental fillings, too.

If you have concerns about your dental fillings, contact your dentist. For periodontal issues, make an appointment with Dr. Hodges.