Do Fillings Harm Neighboring Teeth?

Do Fillings Harm Neighboring Teeth?

Your family dentist in Lakewood, CO strives to help protect the long-term oral health of our patients. Through regular dental exams and cleanings, our team at Advanced Family Dental can help to prevent the buildup of dental decay and disease that leads to the development of cavities, tooth loss, and other serious oral health problems.

While you might think of your oral health as only relating to the state of your teeth and gums, recent research has shown many unexpected connections between our mouths and bodies. Studies have shown that individuals who suffer from poor oral health have significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic health conditions that include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia and cancer.

In addition to these types of major issues, tooth decay can also impact other aspects of our health. Cavities can easily happen if we don’t take the time to properly brush and floss daily. While treating a cavity is fairly straightforward, a recent study suggests that the teeth on either side of a new filling might have an increased risk of decay.

Researchers from Oslo’s Nordic Institute of Dental Material examined the surfaces of 750 teeth that were either in good shape or suffering from exterior decay, meaning that the interior of the tooth was still healthy. All of the examined teeth were in direct contact with teeth recently filled with a cavity.

Researchers discovered that after nearly 5 years, 34 percent of the neighboring tooth surface suffered from enamel decay, and that 27 percent suffered from decay in the dentine, the soft tissue inside the tooth.

On the neighboring surfaces where the enamel was decaying at the time of the patient had received a filling, 57 percent still had decay in the enamel, while it spread into the interior of the tooth of the remaining 43 percent.

Patients with fillings who took poor care of their oral health seemed at a greater risk of this kind of oral health problem over time.

Overall, researchers involved in the study found that dental treatments had a significant impact on the development of tooth decay. Dentists should be aware of this possibility and take steps to prevent the decay of neighboring teeth when placing a filling. Dentists should also check on the state of neighboring teeth at every follow-up visit, recommends researchers.

Improving The State of Your Smile

If your teeth suffer from decay, restorative treatments such as dental fillings, crowns, and root canal therapy may be the only way to save the tooth. Fortunately, you can avoid these types of treatment options by practicing the following habits:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Floss daily.
  • Rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash after brushing.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals.
  • Eat a balanced diet that’s low in sugars and high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Schedule regular checkups and exams with your family dentist in Lakewood, CO.

By practicing these simple daily habits, you can dramatically lower your risk of decay and improve the state of your smile now and into the future.

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