Frontiers in Medicine published a study which looked into composite and amalgam fillings and a number of the factors which might cause them to fail.
Among the variables considered were sex, age, drinking alcohol, smoking, periodontal health, diabetes, and genetics. 4,856 patients' dental records over 5 years were included for this study.
A few of the highlights of the study include:
Composite fillings are equal to, if not better than amalgam
Composite fillings are the more recent, white fillings, whereas amalgam fillings are the silver-colored tooth fillings which have been in use for more than 150 years. During the course of their research, the team found that the failure rates for amalgam and composite fillings were almost identical, with the newer composite fillings performing slightly better.
Fillings have a greater chance of failing for men who smoke and those who drink
Of the lifestyle choices considered, smoking and alcohol consumption displayed the strongest correlation with filling failures. After having fillings for two years, the rate of failure was greatest in individuals who drank alcohol regularly and in men who were smokers.
An individual's genes could be involved in failed fillings
Those involved with the study made note of the gene for an enzyme found in teeth called MMP2 (matrix metalloproteinase). Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) may weaken the connection between the filling and teeth, the researchers suggested. Someone's genetic makeup may one day be more important in dentistry, they suggested. According to a member of the team, Alexandre Vieira: "In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes."
The study further enforces the idea that composite tooth fillings can be looked at as an excellent replacement for traditional amalgam fillings. Dental patients may like to keep in mind the connection between lifestyle choices and the failure rate of fillings as well.
Make your next appointment for an exam with Dr. Mills, now, particularly if you haven't had your fillings evaluated lately.