Monday, 04 May 2015

Biocompatibility Testing

Over the last century, the number of materials available for use in dentistry has increased so significantly that few dentists are well acquainted with them all.  An increase in the number and types of chemicals used in the dental materials along with technological improvements and new applications continue to expand the choices.

Research and development in this field often emphasize good esthetics and durability over biocompatibility of the materials.  This is understandable since consumers of dental services are asking for beautiful, long lasting smiles.  The consumer assumes that the materials used in dentistry are safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Two issues that affect biocompatibility are a patient’s allergic sensitivity to dental materials and the biologic toxicity of some materials.  Both blood tests and energetic testing can be used to determine whether a particular material is suited to a particular patient.

Allergic Sensitivity

If a person has an allergic sensitivity to a material, their response to the material varies by degrees.  This response could range from a slight sensitivity of the immune system to an anaphylactic reaction that could be life threatening. 

The overriding response of all body tissues at all levels of sensitivity is inflammation.  Acute inflammation is necessary for body tissues to heal.  When inflammation becomes chronic, free radicals are produced, which cause oxidative stress that can damage cells.

Connective tissue is the most susceptible to oxidative stress damage, and the mouth is full of connective tissue.  For example, connective tissue connects gums to teeth, gums to bone and teeth to bone.  Therefore, long term chronic inflammation can destroy oral tissues, especially in susceptible people.  If dental materials cause a sensitivity response in a person, these materials are a source of chronic inflammation.

Biologic Toxicity

Some materials, such as mercury, are toxic to the body. Biologic toxicity can affect the function of individual cells and systems of the body.  Toxins are a source of chronic inflammation, and they inhibit the function of enzymes crucial to the body, which will be the topic of a future blog article.

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