Posted by Dr. William Yoo
Dentists and patients are increasingly opting for composite resin fillings as an alternative to amalgam fillings, largely due to their aesthetic appeal, and also because of mercury concerns. However, there have been claims that composite resin fillings may be damaging to health. In this post, we examine the concerns associated with composite resin fillings.
Health Concerns with Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings typically are comprised of three components: inorganic fillers, a resin matrix, and coupling agents. The resin matrices for most dental composite resins today contain Bis-GMA, which is made from the Bisphenol-A (BPA) monomer that is believed to induce similar effects to estrogen in the human body.
As an endocrine disruptor, BPA is linked to a number of concerns if introduced into the body, including:
Some studies have found evidence of BPA in the saliva of patients following fillings or sealants. Although the presumed effects of BPA could be most harmful to children and infants, because of their underdeveloped immune systems, experts are not certain whether this level of exposure constitutes any health risk to fetuses, children, or adults. Moreover, the dental community argues that the composite resin fillings and sealants that contain BPA are not harmful in any way.
Although there are no BPA human studies, the US FDA does not believe that BPA is a public health concern, and maintains that composite resins containing Bisphenol-A can be safely used.
Moreover, there are other ways that humans are exposed to greater levels of BPA, like through foods and drinks in plastic cups, bottles, and wraps, as well as soda cans and canned products, among other products. In comparison, the levels of exposure found with dental composite resin fillings are miniscule.
In Conclusion, composite resin fillings are a safe option for restoring damaged teeth. But if you are concerned about BPA, you can talk to your dentist about using a BPA-free composite resin filling material that does not contain the conventional monomers such as Bis-GMA, HEMA, UDMA or TEGDMA.