Almost all dental materials that are used to fix teeth have been incriminated in causing allergic reactions in some portion of the population.
You may be walking around with continuous sinus problems and never realized that this may be an allergic response to your fillings.
Dental materials do not require FDA approval. Anyone can make a dental material and market it. Dental materials contain substances that cause allergic reactions, are cytotoxic (causing cell death of your oral tissues) and some are carcinogenic. Some have more than one of these features.
Dental materials come with a sheet called an MSDS sheet or materials data sheet. On that sheet for the dental material is a section on harmful or toxic substances. There is also a hazard section. Your dentist has a sheet like this for every compound they use. The manufacturer of the product provides these sheets. The manufacturer provides it so that the dentist and the assistant are aware that it contains substances that are known to cause allergic reactions and to inform them of the hazards of the substance so that they can protect themselves appropriately.
You were likely never informed that dental materials contain these substances. These substances are constantly leaching out of the dental materials and effecting your oral tissues. In addition to the effects of direct contact with your oral tissues, the substances are also in your saliva and you are constantly swallowing them. Once you swallow them, they can enter your blood stream and have effects on tissues throughout your body. Some can be absorbed directly into your blood stream in your mouth. Once they are in your body, they can cause an allergic response on any organ or tissue. They can mimic hormones and cause cancer. They can have toxic effects on your tissues. They can have toxic effects and cause an allergic response right in your mouth. These ill effects are going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as you have the substance permanently installed on your body.
You can ask to see the MSDS sheet for any dental material your dentist intends to use. Write down the names of all the substances that are of concern to you and do your homework. The MSDS sheet does not list everything that is in a product. If you need to know what else a product contains, a good place to look sometimes is the USPTO or patent and trademark office.
You can search the journals for information on a particular dental product and compounds in dental products in the NIH database through Grateful Med or Medline. Your MD can help you out with your questions. http://igm.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/doler?account=++&password=++&datafile=medline
When a dentist puts a mercury amalgam filling in your mouth, it expands as it cures. The expansion can, and often does, crack your teeth.
The plastic sealant that they put on childrens teeth leaches compounds that have estrogenic activity. This compound is also found in dental restorative resins. This is not a good kind of estrogenic activity, rather the type that can cause cancer. This may or may not concern some people, it is up to the individual whose body it is installed in. Its is extremely doubtful that any parent was ever informed of that their child was put at risk for reproductive cancer when they got the sealants or asked if there was a predisposition to reproductive cancer in the family.
Your dental restorative materials are not a temporary fixture in your oral cavity. You could be suffering with health problems for decades. Once your teeth are drilled for a restoration, there is no turning back. You do not want to be in a position where your fillings are removed and replaced several times before you find a material that is biocompatible for you.
When a dentist tells you that there is nothing to worry about or that the information is controversial, they have just made a medical decision for you. If information is controversial, then they really do not have a right deciding that it is safe. This is equivalent to your physician giving you an experimental drug without telling you it is experimental. Your physician would never do that and your dentist should not be doing it either.
There is significant research on the harmful side effects of mercury amalgam fillings. The use of this material for dental restorations has been outlawed several times in the US for the multitude of lifetime permanent problems that they can cause.
A lot more information:
One dental material has been found that touts itself as highly biocompatible. It has not been verified exactly how objective the biocompatibility information is and if you are interested in this product, you should do your homework and make sure that this information is not self-proclaimed.
It is: DiamondProducts. Micro-crystalline technology. Biodent Australasia. The Diamond Restorative System. DRM. DiamondCrown, DiamondLink, DiamondBond and DiamondLite. Since the site has information about the inventor and declares he has over 40 publications in the journals and he is a dental biomaterials consultant, it may also be wise to use the NIH database to review his publications.
The claim in their biocompatibility section is that the material has been tested according to ANSI/ADA recommendations for both dental material and biological evaluation. All products scored zero and were found to be non bioreactive and non cytotoxic.
It would be a good idea to review the ANSI and ADA "recommendations" as well.
A material that is cytotoxic kills cells -- your body's tissue cells. . Most dental materials have this feature. Their site has more information on dental materials and the hazards of them. There is more information below.
Depending on how old your fillings are, the ingredients that were available at the time dictates what they are made of and the particular effects of all dental materials over time cover a wide range.
From the NIH Database.
There are some comments inserted between some of these abstracts and at the bottom of the list.
The Estrogenic Effects of Dental Sealants.
Determination of bisphenol A and related aromatic compounds released from bis-GMA- based composites and sealants by high performance liquid chromatography. Jan, 2000
Estrogenicity of bisphenol A and bisphenol A dimethacrylate in vitro. June, 1999
Estrogenicity of resin-based composites and sealants used in dentistry. March 1996
The Cytotoxic Effects of Dental Resins:
Cytotoxic effects of extracts of compomers. Dec, 1999
Patterns of cell death induced by eluates from denture base acrylic resins in U-937 human monoblastoid cells. Feb, 2000
Leaching and cytotoxicity of formaldehyde and methyl methacrylate from acrylic resin denture base materials. June 1994
Biocompatibility of visible light-polymerized denture base resins., Sept 1993
Relationships between denture base resin cytotoxicity and cell lipid metabolism, Nov. 1995
The cytotoxic effects of denture base resin sealants. Nov, 1992
[Dental materials--problem substances in allergologic diagnosis? I: Analysis of test results in patients with mouth mucosa/dental material problems]. Nov, 1996
The effect of pH on the cytotoxicity of eluates from denture base resins. March 1995
Leachability of denture-base acrylic resins in artificial saliva. Jan 1990
Delayed extraoral hypersensitivity to dental composite material. April, 1997
Oral manifestations of gold allergy. Feb 1994
Take Note in this publication that the manufacturer refused to yield the information about the ingredients in the dental material.
Allergic contact gingivostomatitis from a temporary crown made of methacrylates and epoxy diacrylates. Dec. 1999
They must be hiding something very important. You should be able to call a dental material manufacturer and ask them for information about what is in the product so that you can discuss that information with your MD before it is permanently attached to your body. If you have health issues or a history of allergies, you need to find out all of the ingredients, not just the major ones. If you allow your dentist to do you communication for you, the dentist may decided that all the information is not important or selectively decide to omit information based on a judgement call. They are not in a position to make that judgement call, only your MD is.
A MSDS sheet does not contain all the ingredients in a dental material. You can be allergic to anything.
The author of this site called a dental material manufacturer, Caulk, for information. There have been few life experiences where one speaks to someone that rude. The person on the phone refused to answer a single question, refused to provide any information and would only speak to dentists. One is quickly left with the impression that they have something very significant to hide that they clearly do not want a patient to know about. Whatever it is that they are hiding, you probably do not want to be swallowing it every minute of every day.
A similar phone call was made to 3M. The individual on the phone was pleasant, quick to answer all questions, compiled and sent all data sheets, and left a phone number in case the MD needed more information. Gold is one of the most biocompatible metals known to man. It causes allergic reactions in some people. Gold never comes in a pure form for dental materials because it is too soft a metal to be appropriate for that purpose. The gold is mixed with other metals to give it more strength. This is exactly the information 3M was very quick to provide. They obviously have nothing to hide and are concerned about health issues.
If you do need to make a phone call to a manufacturer, be certain to get your information in writing, directly from them.