Bisphenol A: A Dental Concern for Our Patients or Not?

by | Oct 7, 2010 | Dental Restorations, Dentistry | 5 comments

An important lesson that I’ve learned over the years about Biological Dentistry is to ask questions. Then to be willing to make the appropriate changes that seem necessary for improving the health and well being of our patients.

The use of specific dental materials and their biological compatibility for our patients has always been a concern for me. About 6 months ago, I was investigating a chemical used in dentistry called Bisphenol A (BPA). This is a common additive to plastics and a by-product of the chemical Bis-GMA.

Bis-GMA is an ingredient found in many dental resins or tooth colored fillings and sealants. It is also a widely used substance commonly found in plastic containers, baby bottles and the lining of metal food cans.

The problem I found with BPA is that it’s a hormone disrupter that can mimic estrogen. Some research has linked it to health consequences, including early puberty in girls, breast and prostrate cancer, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

That led me to ask: Is it safe to use in dental products? What are the experts saying about this additive that is found in most dental fillings and sealants? The following describes what I found.

The ADA (American Dental Association) believes any concern about potential BPA exposure from dental composites or sealants is unwarranted at this time. When compared with all other sources of BPA, these dental materials pose significantly lower exposure concerns. The presence of a substance, whether in the environment, human blood or urine samples, does not mean it’s necessarily harmful to human health. That would typically depend on how much of the substance we are exposed to.

Some studies have found detectable levels of BPA in the saliva of patients after use of the sealants or fillings. However, experts are divided as to whether this low exposure constitutes a health risk.

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in 2006, found some dental products leach BPA and could result in low-dose exposures within the range in which health effects have been seen in rodents.

The term “low exposure” still concerns me enough that we’ve decided to eliminate this chemical from our office.

If you search enough you can find dental resins and even sealants that do not contain Bisphenol A. We use two products in our office that meet this criteria. They are from DRM called Diamond Lite (for fillings) and Diamond Crown (for crowns). They have performed quite well in regards to their strength and aesthetics. I would highly recommend these products for other dentists to try.

Even though the BPA controversy is likely to continue, biological dentistry will continue to choose the path less traveled. If you can do without toxins, why not do without toxins? If you can perform dental procedures safely and do not have to jeopardize the integrity of the product, then why even take a chance with potentially harmful products in our patients’ mouths? We believe in the “Precautionary Principle” so we simply don’t take those chances.

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