Debate: Are fillings doing more harm than good?

Ap smilecare blog debate are-fillings-doing more harm than good

Most of us are likely to have an opinion on fillings. As one of the most common dental procedures among adults today, it’s rare to meet someone who hasn’t had at least one filling. In fact, statistics show that 84% of all adults have at least one or more fillings, and each adult has an average of seven fillings. With this in mind, we’re taking a look at the latest debate to hit the media spotlight – whether fillings are doing more harm than good…

What is a filling?

Fillings are used as a protective measure for holes, created by plaque, which if not treated could lead to serious complications. If left untreated, the cavities can grow bigger, eventually affecting the nerves, creating pain, and causing tooth fractures and infection. In some cases, as tooth pulp is destroyed, tooth loss may occur too. 

ap smilcare blog debate are fillings doing more harm than good

The latest research on fillings

The latest dental debate to hit the media spotlight in the past week is fillings – and whether they are really the right answer to solving common dental problems. Many senior dentists have warned that fillings could do more harm than good, and have called on colleagues to ensure they use up-to-date techniques.

When fitted badly, filling can actually increase decay, meaning more fillings are needed in other teeth. Experts believe the trauma caused by the initial filling, fitted incorrectly, may explain why neighbouring teeth become prone to infection.

The research, published in the Journal of Dentistry, showed some dentists are more likely than others to have patients who develop new decay after a filling.

Study findings

There were a number of salient points raised in the research piece, highlighting the potential dangers of poorly fit fillings.

These included:

  • Six out of 10 teeth, which were next to a filling, were also found to have decayed after five years of having a filling fitted.
  • Of these decayed teeth, almost 30% needed filling too – meaning one poorly fitted filling could lead to two further fillings.

ap smilcare blog debate are-fillings doing more harm than good study

While these statistics are worrying, it’s not time to ditch the filling just yet. When fitted correctly fillings can help prevent pain and further decay. As we’ve highlighted, the dangers from fillings only come when they’ve been poorly fitted. When dentists are careful with their approach, as we are at AP Smilecare, using minimal intervention to prevent damage to other teeth, there is no cause for concern at all.

At AP Smilecare we always keep on top of the latest techniques and procedures to make sure we’ve giving you, our patients, the best service possible. If you have any questions about fillings, and the AP Smilecare procedure, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist on your next visit. We’ll be more than happy to explain each stage of the process and how we actively work to prevent further tooth damage.

Do you have any fillings? If so, tell us about your experience – good or bad – in the comments below. Alternatively you can tweet us @APSmilecare

Posted on: 2nd Nov, 2015