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Is there a connection between tooth fillings failure and smoking and drinking?
27 Nov. 2019

Is there a connection between tooth fillings failure and smoking and drinking?

Dental fillings are used to treat dental cavities. Your dentist will remove the decayed portion of your tooth, clean the affected area and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. Materials used for fillings may include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (plastic), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc). Composite resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and the ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity where they harden.

The best type of filling for you as a patient depends upon a lot offactors: the gravity of your cavity, you may have allergies to some materials, the money you can allocate for this dental procedure.

It was thought that the cause for dental fillings failure is the filling material. New studies have shown that this is not totally true and that the cause of fillings failure is related to some genetics factors or to some personal habits.

New studies have revealed that people who drink alcohol and people who smoke are more likely to suffer a dental filling failure. Moreover it is suggested that genetic analysis might help dentists to personalize and adapt treatments for their patients.

The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in the US and The University of Pernambuco School of Dentistry in Brazil reached the conclusion that composite fillings are at least as durable as amalgam fillings.

US and Brazilian researchers studied dental filling failure for up to 5 years after the initial visit at the dentist. The data included relevant information about patients’ lifestyle, including smoking and drinking habits, as well as genetics factors. It was discovered that the fillings were more likely to fail among those who used to drink alcohol and to smoke. A genetic factor (an enzyme found in the teeth) was also linked to an increase in filling loss. This means that one day genetic details might be used to customize dental treatments for a better outcome.

The study examined 6266 amalgam and 2010 composite restorations (on posterior teeth) in 807 patients and over a period of around 10 years. The authors also examined 443 composite resin restorations in anterior teeth.

The results showed that failure rates between amalgam and composite resin restorations are very similar. Taking into account this conclusion, researchers tried to discover some other causes for dental fillings failure. Among these they mentioned: age, sex, diabetes and other health issues. Tobacco and alcohol use were also found to increase the  failure rate for dental fillings.

The conclusion of the study was that composite restoration can successfully substitute amalgam restorations. Patients with dental cavitiesare recommendedto avoid smoking and drinking as much as they can in order to increase “the life” of their filings. In case you need further information on this topic or you have dental issues, call today Dr. Arhiri to make an appointment.