Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bisphenol A (BPA) – What is it & how is it used in dentistry.

Welcome to our first blog post!

We’re excited to be offering out thoughts and opinions on dentistry and a range of topics today and on into the future.  As a child I remember reading the local newspaper and as great as some of the main storylines were, it was always insightful and thought provoking to read the editorials.  Sometimes they had an alternate viewpoint of the main article, sometimes they were endorsing the article, and other times they were just plain funny!

I know that if I start talking about the latest and greatest dental techniques, bond protocols and endodontic files I may as well give my laptop to Casper because him and his friends will be the only ones reading this blog.  So instead of the technical side of dentistry I hoped to give relevant information that will hopefully impart some knowledge for some and for others, it may just be an interesting read.  To that end I may intersperse other topics that I find interesting along the way.

Thanks for reading and if you didn’t get the Casper reference please consult my good friend Google.

Bisphenol A (BPA) – What is it, how is it used in dentistry and why do people say it’s bad for you?


 


Back in WWII German researchers had a plethora of underground experiments ongoing and one of the discoveries they made was that they could make dental fillings that were tooth colored and could be cured at room temperature.  As incredible an innovation this was in the dental world there was one major problem, the fillings would shrink when they were setting resulting in massive tooth sensitivity and failure.  I’m sure the inventors were ecstatic about their limited success but work still needed to be done to make this a practical approach to repairing teeth.

Enter a Scientist named Bowen who synthesized a compound called Bis-GMA (which contains the substance Bisphenol A, also known as BPA), who found a way to incorporate this agent into fillings and make them pliable while reducing the amount of shrinkage greatly.  Success!  Or maybe not….

Fast forward to 2010 and now news is relaying worldwide that Bisphenol A is estrogenic.  I still remember my first patient who told me “I don’t know what estrogenic means but I don’t have any need for estrogen in my body.”  He was quite surprised when I told him actually men produce estrogen as well, that a fun conversation.

Quick biology lesson:

  • Woman: Estrogen affects development, growth, fetuses, secondary sex characteristics, uterine and breast development
  • Men: Sexual behavior and androgen levels are linked to estrogen production

Bottom line, it’s important to know if the white fillings we use can cause some type of adverse effects for both women and men.

The facts: Sealants and flowable composites are the worse perpetrators.  After placing sealants in the mouth there is a small percentage of BPA that can be found in the saliva.  The interesting thing is it’s estimated it would have to be at a level almost 2500X higher to reach a level which “might” cause an estrogenic effect.   Now take into account that 80% of BPA will be removed by the faecal route while passing through the GI tract the amount required would be even higher.

Conclusion: Current research suggests that short-term risks are insignificant but further testing is warranted to confirm there are no long-term risks from even this minimal amount.

So what can we do to eliminate even the slightest risk?  We have chosen to use a product that doesn’t utilize Bisphenol A ---- Our selection: G-aenial from GC America, which is a fantastic product and has one of the highest wear resistance rates of any dental flowable resin.

There are many options in the world on dentistry, just like there are when you go to the grocery store.  There are genetically modified fruits and there are organic fruits, we know which ones are better for us.  We are what we put in our bodies and for us that is a core value of our practice when it comes to our product selection.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!