Dental material compatibility testing – What you need to know

Illustration showing chemicals reacting

As a Biological dentist it is imperative to ensure material safety.

What is dental material compatibility/reactivity testing?

Dental toxicity can occur when materials placed in a patient’s mouth cause that person’s immune system to react and “reject” the restoration since the components are never accepted in the same manner as one’s own tissues. This is probably one of the primary concerns facing dental patients today. With several thousand dental restoration materials available on the market, it is important to know how vigorously or minimally these materials will react with the body’s immune system. Serum compatibility testing provides dentists with one way to help determine which materials will react in a test tube with a patient’s serum proteins, and to what extent this will happen. Proper testing can help to prevent the placement of any of a number of materials in the mouth that could prove to be an ongoing source of toxins to a patient.

Reactivity to dental materials can be loosely compared to food allergies. While many people have no problems with foods such as peanuts, fish, or soybeans, there is a small percentage of the population who will have an allergic reaction to these foods. The reaction to dental materials that we are testing for is similar to an allergy, but it appears to often be much more subtle. Most people do not even notice that anything is happening since they experience no immediate symptoms, but there can still be a reaction taking place. The immune system can react to dental materials as if they were infections or just toxic substances, and it will begin to work overtime to remove the “infection” from the body, although this can obviously never occur as long as the substances remain in the mouth. Often these materials are placed with no investigation into potential problems because the dentists themselves are unaware of the hazards.

Serum Biocompatibility testing was developed to determine how much of an immune reaction a particular client will have to any given material. A blood sample is drawn and checked for immune response to the material and their byproducts. For the dentist’s convenience the classifications “Highly Reactive,” “Moderately Reactive,” and “Least Reactive,” are used to aid in understanding the results. Each product on the test is then rated by the highest reactivity level among its component chemicals. This assures that only the products in which all components give the lowest reaction levels are termed “Least Reactive.”

What does the test involve?

A blood sample drawn at your dentists office or a blood draw center and mailing to the labs is needed. Your dentist will discuss the test results with you.

What labs offer these tests?

There are two labs in the country that offer this testing.

Cliffords labs.

What are the commonly tested materials?

Commonly tested materials:

  1. Composites / Acrylics / Repairs
  2. Glass Ionomers
  3. Cements / Adhesives / Bonding Agents
  4. Liner Materials
  5. Base Materials
  6. Pit and Fissure Sealants
  7. Etchants
  8. Cleansing Materials / Desensitizers
  9. Varnishes
  10. Prophy Paste / Gel Products
  11. Porcelain / Ceramics / Repairs
  12. Blocks For Milling
  13. Ceramic Alloys (PFM) – Precious
  14. C&B (Casting Alloys) – Precious
  15. Ceramic Alloys (PFM) – Non-Precious
  16. C&B (Casting Alloys) – Non-Precious
  17. Crown Materials – Non-Metallic
  18. Orthodontic Materials
  19. Endo / Root Canal Materials
  20. Implant Materials / Metallic
  21. Implant Materials / Ceram / Non-Metal
  22. Bone / Collagen Graft / Repairs / Fill
  23. Suture Materials
  24. Impression Materials
  25. Denture Materials
  26. Denture Teeth
  27. Denture Adhesives
  28. Reliner Materials
  29. Preventive Treatments
  30. Whitening / Bleaching Agents
  31. Preservative Agents
  32. Mouth Guards and Splints
  33. Laser Perio Solutions
  34. Apnea / Snoring Devices
  35. Amalgam Alloys
  36. Hydrogel / Scaffolding

This test is available at Prime Integrative Dentistry. Give us a call to learn more.