More and more dentists are starting to use white or composite fillings as a replacement for traditional silver or amalgam fillings. Here is what you need to know about white fillings and their effect on your health.
What is a White or Composite Filling Made Of?
White Fillings, also called composite fillings, are a mixture of plastic and resin. This mixture allows the filling to be both strong and to match the colour and shape of the existing tooth.
What is Bisphenol A (BPA) and why is it a concern?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound added to plastics to improve their flexibility. Concerns have been raised over it’s stability as is was discovered that at high heats it can leach out of the plastic. It displays estrogenic hormone like proprieties that may disrupt hormone production if consumed. It has been phased out of many products due to customer demand and the desire to protect the populations more vulnerable to these disruptions - infants and very young children.
Why is BPA used in White Fillings?
BPAs are used in a wide variety of products because they increase the strength dramatically in plastics. In white dental fillings it is very effective because in makes the fillings more durable and allows them to mimic the way a tooth would naturally flex.
Should I Replace my White Fillings?
The amount of BPA in white fillings is very low – well within Health Canada safety margins.
The primary exposure to BPA is when the filling is placed – and this dissipates very rapidly.
Replacing fillings that are otherwise in good shape is not recommended. Replacing a filling can cause damage to your tooth, and in many case, this is unnecessary and avoidable damage.
If having white composite filling material in your mouth is still a concern, ask your dental office if they are using BPA free dental filling materials.
Written by: Susan Sweetnam, Registered Dental Assistant