Do Composite Fillings contain BPA? (We have transitioned to Porcelain Filling Material which have glass particles instead of resins). This is a questions we get asked by many of our Holistic Dental patients. As awareness regarding the health effects of various dental materials is increasing among the general population, most people now question the safety of materials that their dentist places in their mouths.
Initially, concerns were raised regarding the hazardous effects of Mercury Fillings, which was present in the Amalgam Filling materials.
As a result, tooth colored Composite Filling materials were introduced, which were not only highly esthetic, but were also said to be free of any harmful ingredients. However, recent researches have documented the presence of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in composite based sealants and filling materials.
While BPA certainly induces harmful effects to the body, the important question here is that “is BPA released in sufficient quantities within the oral cavity to generate any negative effects?” To answer this question, let’s have a look at what BPA actually is, and what it does to your body.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol-A, is a chemical that is used to harden plastics. It is also present in various medical appliances, compact disks (CDs), water bottles and in the lining of some canned foods. Although it is not direct constituent of dental sealants and filling materials, various research studies have shown that it is formed as a degradation product of the composites upon exposure to the saliva.
What Are the Health Effects of BPA?
Although not much is known about the effects of BPA on the body, it is known to exhibit hormone like properties, and can therefore disturb the natural secretion, transportation and excretion of natural hormones, thereby posing a danger to your health. Furthermore, it has been shown to be particularly damaging for fetuses and growing babies.
Some of the known effects of BPA on the body are:
• Reproductive Disorders – both in males and females
• Cardiac Problems – women have been found to be more prone to having heart problems due to BPA, than men.
• Endocrine Problems – particularly type-II diabetes.
• Breast Cancer – BPA can enhance the risk of breast cancer among women.
Do Composite Fillings Really Have BPA?
The simple answer to this question, unfortunately is a simple yes. It is present within these filling materials due to 2 reasons:
• As a degradation by-product
• Trace amounts of BPA are also present in composites as left-overs of the ingredients used in making dental composites.
Although BPA has been shown to be released as a result of degradation of dental Composite Filling materials and sealants, various studies have shown that the amount that is leached out is insufficient to cause any harmful effect to the body. In addition, after the placement of a sealant or a filling, the release of BPA is at its maximum.
Hence, if the dentist wipes the surface of the filling, the chances of leaching of BPA are further decreased.
Should I be Worried about BPA?
Despite various concerns raised by many people regarding the harmful effects of BPA released from Composite Fillings, research has yet been unable to document any untoward effect of this chemical in their present levels within the human body.
In addition, the risk of leaching of BPA is further reduced, if the correct technique for their placement as well as polymerization is adopted by the dentist.
Hence, it can be safely said, that at present, the evidence obtained from various research and clinical studies, does not provide sufficient data to consider BPA, at its current exposure level, as threat to our health and wellbeing.