According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. That means chances are you’ve had a cavity, which also means you have at least one filling in your mouth. Have you ever wondered what to do if it falls out or what could cause a filling to fall out?
A new study published in Frontiers in Medicine explores why some people are more prone to failing fillings than others.
Study Shows It’s About More Than the Material
Researchers from both America and Brazil dug through the dental records at a dental school in Pittsburgh and discovered that fillings that failed were often due to smoking, drinking or genetics. In the past, there’s been much debate on the materials used in fillings and whether amalgam was more durable and longer lasting than composite fillings. However, this new research found no difference in failure rates between the two filling materials.
Amalgam fillings have been in the hot seat for years because mercury is one of the main ingredients. However, the material is still widely available in the United States and offered by many dentists as an affordable filling option.
Some dentists, including Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, of Spokane, Washington, prefer the use of the newer and arguably safer material composite resin.
“The biggest benefit that composite has over amalgam in the eyes of most of my patients is cosmetic,” he said. “Composite fillings can be made to match the color of the teeth, unlike amalgam fillings, which have been given the nickname silver filings for decades because of their color.”
Factors That Lead to the Failure of Fillings
The biggest findings in the newest study on failed fillings suggest that those who drink alcohol and men who smoke are the most at risk for a filling failure. When it comes to genetics, the team reported that a difference in the gene for matrix metalloproteinase, or MMP2, which is an enzyme found in teeth, also saw a higher rate of filling failures.
Of course these aren’t the only things that cause filings to occasionally fail.
“The most common cause of a dental filling falling out is a fracture likely due to eating something hard or clenching or grinding teeth,” said Collins. “The second most common reason I usually see is the development of decay under the filling.”
How Long Are Fillings Supposed to Last?
Most people don’t realize that dental fillings aren’t intended to last forever. According to the American Dental Association, over time our constant use of our teeth from eating, drinking, clenching and sometimes grinding cause fillings to weaken. Regular professional dental check-ups are recommended so a dentist can keep an eye on your fillings. If a filling begins to lift up or gets a crack, decay can set in underneath quickly, and the filling may need to be replaced.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788