Dental Fillings Fail More Often for People Who Drink or Smoke Regularly

failing tooth fillings and why

Research found in Frontiers in Medicine looked into composite and amalgam fillings as well as a number of the factors which might lead to their failure.

Among the variables looked at were smoking, alcohol consumption, age, sex, diabetes, periodontal health, and genetics. 4,856 individuals’ dental records from 5 years were examined for this study.

Highlights of the paper include:

Composite and amalgam dental fillings have similar durability

Composite fillings are the more recent, white fillings, whereas amalgam fillings are the familiar silver fillings which have been in use for over one hundred and fifty years. During the duration of the study, the team found that the failure rates for composite and amalgam filings were about the same, with the more modern composite fillings doing slightly better (about two percent better).

Male smokers and people who drink have fillings fail at a higher rate

Of the lifestyle variables examined, drinking and smoking displayed the greatest link with filling failures. After having dental fillings for 2 years, the failure rate was highest in individuals who were regular drinkers and in men who were smokers.

Genes could be a factor for failed dental fillings

A gene for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2), an enzyme found in teeth, was looked into by the study. According to the researchers, MMP2 can degrade the bond between a filling and tooth. The research team suggested that a person’s genetic background may one day be a bigger factor in dentistry. “In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes,” said Alexandre Vieira, a member of the research team.

The study lends further credence that white composite fillings can be looked at as an alternative to the older amalgam fillings. The connection between lifestyle choices and the failure rate of fillings are something patients might like to think about also.

Make your next exam with Dr. Layman or Dr. Shirman, now, especially if you haven’t had your fillings checked lately.