Should You Be Worried? The Use Of BPA In Dental Materials

Posted on: 19 January 2015

For more than a few years, there has been an uproar over the use of BPA. Store shelves are now stocked with plastic bottles covered in stickers stating they are BPA-free. While ridding bottles of BPA has been a great accomplishment, this material is still being used in other, surprising aspects. One of the areas in which BPA is still found is right in your mouth. Many dental procedures and tools use BPA.

The Dangers of BPA

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an organic compound that is used in many plastic materials, including dental sealants and composites. This compound is harmful to human health because of its carcinogenic potential. It is also able to imitate the hormone estrogen and interfere with the production and function of hormones in the body. The following are among the possible health effects from BPA:

  • Reproductive Disorders

  • Heart Disease

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Impaired Memory and Learning

  • Breast Cancer

  • Asthma

Use of BPA in Dental Materials

In the past, mercury was a common substance found in dental materials, including silver fillings. As the dangers of this substance were discovered, dentists moved beyond silver fillings to the use of white (or composite) fillings. Now, however, there is controversy surrounding the use of white fillings and other dental materials due to the presence of BPA in these products.

BPA is not purposefully added to dental materials. It is often present in dental composites and sealants because it is used in the production of other ingredients that are needed to make these dental products. BPA can also be released as a by-product when dental composites and sealants interact with the enzymes in your mouth and begin to degrade. Some studies have shown that BPA can be detected in the saliva within one hour of having a filling put in place.

BPA can be found in the following dental materials:

  • Composite Resin (Used for Fillings)

  • Sealants

  • Crowns

  • Bridges

  • Bleaching Trays

  • Night Guards

  • Restorative Materials

While it has not been proven that BPA in dental materials has been a major health problem to humans, increasingly more dental practices are upholding the Precautionary Principle and using BPA-free dental composite resins.

What You Can Do

  1. Use Biocompatible Materials - You may need to shop around for a dentist that uses biocompatible materials. These materials are non-toxic to the body and offer a safer alternative, but their benefits must be weighed against function and durability. Ask your dentist about what the best material would be for your body and individual situation.

  2. Opt for Alternative Procedures – You can avoid the use of dental materials containing BPA by choosing a procedure that does not use products with this compound. For instance, instead of root canals which require fillings, you could opt to have your teeth pulled and dental implants put in their place.

  3. Don't Worry About It – While BPA is a toxic material that can affect your health, studies have shown that only low levels of BPA are released immediately following the application of sealant to the teeth. After 24 hours, no BPA was detected in the saliva and the BPA never entered the bloodstream of patients in the studies. The American Dental Association believes that the exposure and risk associated with BPA in dental resins is minimal.

BPA is a well-known toxic substance. Some say it is better to be safe than sorry and many dentists are upholding this motto by taking steps to avoid this material through the use of alternative substances or procedures. Others believe that the BPA in dental materials is relatively harmless. It is your body and your health only you can decide how far you want to go to avoid BPA. Talk to your dentist, such as Russel Bleiler DDS, for more information.