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Bisphenols in Composites

 

Bisphenols In Composites 

Are white / tooth colored fillings toxic?  Short answer, any composite filling is more biocompatible than a mercury amalgam filling.  Long answer, not all composite materials are created equal.  Composite fillings are resin based, which inherently makes them a plastic.  Just like plastic water bottles, there is concern over estrogen-mimicking chemicals like Bisphenol A in composite resin dental materials.  Meetinghouse Dental Care uses Venus Diamond composite resin, which has tested to be compatible for the vast majority of patients.  Our composites do not contain time released fluoride, and it is free of Bisphenol A, Bisphenol B, and Bis GMA.

Note that this is not the only composite material that is clean. 

An increasing number of highly biocompatible materials are available on the market due to increased consumer demand. 

 

General Information On Plastics

The word plastic is a very broad term.  All plastics start with the basic component of a carbon chain.  What is added to the creation dictates the final look, feel, and function of the plastic.  Most plastics are labeled with a number surrounded by three arrows that form a triangle.

Each number designates the type of plastic:
No. 1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
No. 2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
No. 3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, vinyl)
No. 4: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
No. 5: Polypropylene (PP)
No. 6: Polystyrene (PS)
No. 7: Other: when package is made with a resin other than the six listed above, or is made of more than one resin and used in a multi-layer combination

Certain plastics contain harmful chemicals that have the potential to leach into substances with which they come into contact (water and food, for example).  The two main toxins are bisphenols and phthalates.

Bisphenols 
Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, is the most common bisphenol.  It is a xeno-estrogen (“foreign” estrogen), and it is an undisputed endocrine disruptor.  When foreign or fake estrogens enter the body, they can severely throw off the natural hormone production cycle.  Growing scientific evidence suggests bisphenols may also be associated with developmental problems.  BPA became a hot topic recently, so “BPA-Free” plastics have started showing up everywhere.  The issue is that BPA is not the only bisphenol; a plastic product can boast BPA-free while still containing other harmful bisphenols like BPB, BPF, and BPS.  It is the plastic # 7 that most often contains bisphenols and thus is marketed with BPA-Free labels.  Be wary.     

Phthalates
Pronounced “THAL-ates”, phthalates also create issues with the human hormonal and developmental systems.  In addition, phthalates have been linked to adverse effects on the liver, kidney, and reproductive systems.

Tips to minimize overall exposure to BPA and Phthalates:

  • Only use refillable drink ware made of glass or stainless-steel.
  • When storing or heating food products, only use glass, porcelain, and stainless-steel containers.
  • Always looks at the number when using something made of plastic.  
  • Avoiding plastic containers marked with a 3, 6, or a 7.
  • Plastics marked with a 2, 4, or a 5 will reduce the likelihood of BPA and phthalate exposure.
  • While plastics marked with a number 1 are considered safe, avoid reusing them.
  • No matter what the number, NEVER EVER cook, heat, warm, etc water or food inside a plastic.
  • Use glass baby bottles when the babies are not yet feeding themselves.
  • When babies are holding the bottle, look for a safe plastic number, and opt for silicone nipples since the latex nipples may contain phthalates.

 

Information on the Different Types of Plastics

#1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Can be Recycled
PET is one of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products and is found in most water and soda bottles.  It is intended for single use applications only.  The material is very hard to decontaminate, and repetitive use inevitably leads to unsterile conditions. 

#2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) Can be Recycled
HDPE plastic is the stiff plastic used to make milk jugs, detergent and oil bottles, toys, and some plastic bags.  It is also used for outdoor furniture, sheds, and decks due to its durability.  HDPE is considered one of the safest forms of plastic. 

#3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Not Easily Recycled
PVC is most commonly thought of as plumbing pipe.  Because this plastic can also be made in a flexible form, it is commonly used as the sheathing material for computer cables, and for garden hoses.  It can be found in many children and pet toys.  PVC is dubbed the “poison plastic” because it contains numerous toxins (most notably phthalates) that it can leach throughout its life cycle. 

#4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) Not Easily Recycled
LDPE is often found in shrink-wraps, squeezable bottles, and plastic grocery bags.  LDPE is considered less toxic than other plastics and relatively safe for use. 

#5 – PP (Polypropylene) Can Recently Be Recycled
Polypropylene plastic is light and very strong.  It is heat resistant and can be used as a perfect barrier for moisture, grease, and chemicals.  Plastic bottle tops, buckets, straws, medicine bottles, and food containers like the ones for yogurt are created from polypropylene.  This is one of the safest plastics and is approved for reuse.

#6 – PS (Polystyrene) Not Recyclable – Terrible for Environment
Polystyrene is an inexpensive, lightweight and easily formed plastic.  Its most recognizable forms are Styrofoam cups and plates, egg containers, and the packing “peanut” chips used to ship things in boxes.  Polystyrene leaches styrene, a possible human carcinogen, into food products with which they come in contact.  This danger is dramatically increased when the food products are heated in the microwave while contacting the polystyrene.  Chemicals present in polystyrene have been linked with human health and reproductive system dysfunction.  Polystyrene should be avoided.

#7 – Other (Miscellaneous) Maybe Recyclable
The “7” category was designed as a catch-all for polycarbonate and “other” plastics, so reuse and recycling protocols are not standardized within this category.  This is the category of plastics that poses a real danger of leaching bisphenols.  Number 7 plastics are commonly used to make water bottles, baby bottles, sippy cups, and food containers.  Since consumers became concerned about BPA, this is the category that is commonly made with the label of BPA-Free to create the illusion that the plastic contains no harmful chemicals.  In reality, no food or drink should be stored or consumed from containers marked with the number 7.  

  


 

Plastics in Dentistry

Meetinghouse Dental Care makes mouth guards of all types.  All are made out of a Polypropylene Co-Polymer material (plastic number 5).  This material contains no Bisphenols of any kind (BPA, BPB, BPF, BPS, etc) and contains no phthalates. Remember, the most reported dangers from the leaching toxins in plastics are exacerbated from heating.  And while the mouth is roughly 98.6 degrees, microwaves raise the temperature of the plastic to 212 degrees, and ovens can go even higher.

Bleaching Trays

Very thin (.040in or 1mm) but flexible aligners created with pockets or bubbles on the front of every tooth.  Bleach can be placed in these bubbles so that it is held in direct contact with the tooth enamel and protected from saliva to achieve an overall brighter enamel shade. 

Essix Night Guard

Slightly thinner than the bleaching tray material (.035in), but it is very rigid.  This material is used to create a thin guard to place over your teeth. The Essix can be used to retain teeth position and to protect teeth from light nighttime clenching and grinding. It looks like an “Invisalign” tray. 

Soft Night Guard

These are thicker than the regular Essix Night Guard (they come in 1, 2, and 3 mm thickness) but have a very soft/ruby feeling.  This material is used to protect teeth from mild nighttime clenching and grinding as well as to retain the current position of the teeth and arch.  By far the most comfortable appliance!

Hard Soft Night Guard

This is the thickest (4 mm) and strongest material used to protect teeth from heavy grinding.  It is unique in having a hard outer shell, while the inner part that fits over the teeth is soft and comfortable to wear.  Hard Soft guards are recommended for people with extreme grinding issues.

Dental Composite Fillings

ANY plastic dental composite is going to be exponentially more biocompatible than a mercury amalgam filling, but we note that NOTHING in dentistry is perfect and that the industry is constantly evolving.  If you research the components of composite by brand name, you’ll find that many brands are biocompatible, but a number still exist that contain time-release fluoride and/or bisphenols.  Our practice has employed Venus Diamond composite made by Heraeus Kulzer since Heraeus Kulzer developed its line of highly aesthetic composites based on TCD-Urethane-Monomer technology a few years ago.  Venus Diamond represents a new generation of composites that features enamel-like expansion and contraction, high-strength bonding, and outstanding surface hardness and is completely bisphenol, phthalate (and fluoride) free.  


 

 

NOTE

If you are the patient of another dental practice, you can ask your dentist for the brand name of the composite material used in your practice and then search the internet for the MSDS (the manufacturer's list of components) yourself, or you can ask your dentist to call the manufacturers and find out for you (1) if xeno-estrogens are present in the composite material (Bisphenol A, Bisphenol B, and Bis GMA) and (2) if time released fluoride is present.  (Manufacturers add Xeno estrogens to increase pliability, as in water bottles, and they add time released fluoride supposedly to decrease tooth sensitivity.  These ingredients are superfluous as well as toxic; the justifications are not viable.)