Dental Filling Failure Linked to Personal Factors, Not Materials
Researchers have traditionally linked dental filling failure to the materials used. However, new research suggests that personal factors are also to blame. The results imply that personalized dental care could help improve treatment outcomes.
Patient factors like smoking, drinking and genetics play a role in how well a dental filling performs, researchers now say. Specifically, “people who drink alcohol or men who smoke are more likely to suffer a failed dental filling.”
In addition, the researchers found that genetic differences in some patients are associated with dental filling failure.
The team also looked at traditional amalgam materials compared to newer resin fillers. They found “no major difference in filling failure rates” associated with the materials used.
Dental Filling Failure: The Traditional View
Dental fillings sometimes fail, and they do so for a variety of reasons. For example, the initial tooth decay may reemerge or the filling may become detached. Previously, it was not clear whether newer materials, such as composite resin fillings, were as tough as amalgam fillings. Solving this puzzle has helped drive the new research.
Working with a large number of records from a dental school in Pittsburgh, researchers investigated filling failure rates for patients. The data included information about dental filling failures that occurred within 5 years of the filling’s placement.
Overall, the team found that there were no major differences between filling failure rates for amalgam or composite fillings. They found the composite fillings to be at least as durable as the amalgam ones.
The Difference: Patient Based Factors
The records used also contained patient lifestyle information, such as smoking and drinking habits. Moreover, the records included a DNA sample from each patient. This allowed the team to look into whether these factors might have an effect on dental filling failure.
The results were eye opening. The team found that “within two years of the procedure, fillings failed more often in patients who drank alcohol.” In addition, in men who smoked, the overall filling failure rate was higher.
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Furthermore, the researchers found a link between a genetic difference in an enzyme found in teeth and increased dental filling failure. They have not yet confirmed that this is responsible for filling failures. However, the data suggests that personal factors, rather than material properties may lead to failed fillings.
“A better understanding of individual susceptibility to dental disease and variation in treatment outcomes will allow the dental field to move forward,” a researcher involved in the study said. “In the future, genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes.”
Source: Frontiers. “Dental filling failure linked to smoking, drinking and genetics: A new study suggests that personal patient factors influence the chance of dental filling failure, rather than the choice of filling material.” ScienceDaily, 6 November 2017.
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