A research paper published in Frontiers in Medicine explored amalgam and composite fillings as well as a few of the circumstances that can lead them to fail.

Among the factors considered were age, sex, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, periodontal health, and genes. The dental histories of 4,856 patients from 5 years were examined for this study.

Below are some of the findings from the study:

Both Amalgam and composite fillings performed almost equally, with composite fillings doing slightly better

Composite fillings are the newer, white fillings, while amalgam are the familiar silver-colored dental fillings that have been used by dentists for over 150 years. Over the duration of the study, the researchers found that the rate of failure for amalgam and composite filings were almost identical, with the newer composite fillings performing a little better (about 2.05% better at the 5-year mark).

Dental fillings are more likely to fail for men who smoke and people who drink regularly

Smoking and drinking were found to have the most prominent correlation with the failing of dental fillings of the lifestyle variables looked at. 2 years after having fillings, the rate of failure was greatest for men who were smokers and in those who were regular drinkers.

An individual’s genes might be involved for failed dental fillings

A gene for an enzyme which is found in teeth called matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) was looked into by the study. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) may degrade the attachment between the teeth and fillings, the researchers claimed. The team suggested that a patient’s genetic background could one day be more important in dentistry. “…genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes,” said Alexandre Vieira, a member of the team.

The outcome of the study further enforces the idea that composite dental fillings can be a great alternative to the silver amalgam fillings. Dental patients might like to keep in mind the links between drinking and smoking and dental filling failure also.

If you’re concerned about your dental fillings, be sure to contact your dentist. For periodontal concerns, get in touch with Dr. Godat and Dr. Craddock at Periodontal Associates of Memphis.