Word of Mouth: Keep BPA Out of Dental Fillings

Target: Dr. Raymond F. Gist, President of the American Dental Association

Goal: Provide patients with safe and effective fillings.

Children who have their cavities filled with a BPA-based composite resin may be more prone to developing behavioral problems in the future, finds a new study posted on the online journal Pediatrics. Dr. Nancy Maserejian of Massachusetts’ England Research Institute and head author of the study admits that for those involved in dental research this can be a touchy subject. But as bisphenol-A (more commonly referred to as BPA) is already a subject of concern, the risks that the chemical might disperse into a child’s mouth and throughout their system must not be ignored.

While silver amalgam fillings were the go-to fillings for well over 150 years, new fillings made from a bisphenol A-glycidlyl methacrylate- (bisGMA) based composite have gained in popularity because its white color most resembles a natural tooth. (Amalgam has also been under investigation due to its containing mercury.) In the course of the five year study, 534 children between the ages of 6 and 10 were evaluated. At the end, 16 percent of children with the highest levels of BPA exposure exhibited problems with behavior that included instances of depression, delinquent behaviors, acting out, and issues with attention and self-esteem.

Although the results are not completely conclusive—experts all agree that additional research is necessary—it is enough to prove that bisGMAs do not deserve “a clean bill of health.” Until it can be proven that no harmful material is able to leach out of fillings and into the systems of patients, experts need to focus on engineering a safer product.


Dear Dr. Gist,

A recent study points to a possible connection linking a chemical commonly found in filling material and children developing behavioral issues. According to a report published in the journal Pediatrics, the BPA-component found within fillings made of bisGMA may be causing children to develop a wide range of problems such as a lowered IQ and depression.

No strangers to controversy, the less popular silver amalgam fillings have already raised concerns that they leak dangerous mercury into people’s systems. While researchers involved with the study agree that there is still plenty of room for additional analyses, it is clear that improvements are necessary.

In order to provide patients with the highest quality of service and safety, the American Dental Association must commit to providing patients with products made of the safest materials.


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