A paper found in Frontiers in Medicine took a look at amalgam and composite fillings and a few of the variables which can lead them to fail.
Among the variables considered were sex, age, drinking alcohol, smoking, periodontal health, diabetes, and genetic factors. The dental histories of 4,856 individuals from 5 years were included as a part of the study.
Below are some of the findings from the paper:
Amalgam and composite fillings have near equal durability
If you didn't know: Amalgam fillings are the familiar silver-colored tooth fillings that have been used by dentists for over a century, whereas composite fillings are the more recent, tooth-colored fillings. During the course of their research, the researchers found that the rate of failure for amalgam and composite were nearly the same, with the more modern composite fillings doing slightly better.
Fillings have a greater chance of failing for men who smoke and those who drink regularly
Alcohol use and smoking were revealed to have the strongest interaction with filling failures of the lifestyle choices looked at. Two years after having dental fillings, the rate of failure was greatest for those who drank alcohol regularly and in men who smoked.
An individual's genes could play a role in failed fillings
Researchers involved in the study made note of a gene for an enzyme found in teeth named matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2). Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) might weaken the attachment between a filling and tooth, according to the researchers. They suggested that a person's genes may be a bigger element in dentistry one day. According to Alexandre Vieira, one of the researchers involved in the study: "In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes."
The study supports the idea that composite fillings can be a good change from the silver amalgam fillings. Dental patients might like to keep in mind the links between lifestyle choices and the failure of fillings, too.
If you haven't had your fillings evaluated lately, consider booking your next exam with Dr. Hill now.