This article is from the Amalgam and Mercury-free Dentistry FAQ.
One of the most frequent questions asked concerns the selection of
dental materials. It is a question that is not easy to answer. The
reason being that each of us are uniquely biochemical. A dental
material that we think is great may in fact be the incorrect material
for you causing you to experience adverse reactions to it. This of
course presents the same type of dilemma for your dentist.
If you have allergies, or have multiple chemical sensitivities, the
situation is even more critical. The bottom line question then becomes
''what dental material is the most suitable for me and will afford me
the least potential of experiencing any adverse reactions to it?''
The most scientific approach to the problem available at this time is
to have your own blood serum tested in a medical laboratory to see
which dental materials if any, it reacts to. This is called a material
reactivity test. Clifford Consulting & Research, Inc. has been in the
forefront of developing and perfecting this type of testing for the
dental profession. Using qualitative antigen-antibody precipitin
observations, it is possible to detect the presence of antibodies in
the serum which have been specifically formed against such chemical
groups as acrylates, urethanes, toluenes, nickel, aluminum, mercury,
etc. A small quantity of a challenge material is mixed with a sample
patient serum and observed for the formation of an immune complex.
This type of testing is over 100 years old and is commonly used in
many laboratory tests today to detect exposure to microbial and toxic
entities. Antibodies for a chemical component may have originated with
intake of food and water or with various environmental
exposures. Thus, not every problem is the result of medical or dental
intervention. However, once you have been sensitized to a particular
chemical component, any further exposures from any source including
dental or medical materials can be hazardous to health, when your
immune system triggers an immediate response to the reappearance of an
offending material. What is unique about the application of ''dental''
serum reactivity testing is that your serum is evaluated against over
1400 dental trade-name products, divided into 23 application
categories, with indications for each item whether it is suitable or
not suitable for you. This provides you and your dentist with
intelligent options for the selection of suitable materials to be used
in your mouth to complete the required dental work.
It is not a total solution to all problems you may encounter such as
electrogalvanism (electrical current being generated by dissimilar
metals immersed in electrolytic fluid, i.e. your saliva) or the
necessity to evaluate whether the materials selected will provide the
mechanical performance required such as strength and
durability. However, from a health standpoint, it is perhaps the most
To give you some idea of the scope of reactivity to dental materials,
Clifford Consulting & Research, Inc. has compiled the reactivity
percentages to various groups of materials derived from 12,823 serum
specimens submitted for testing: Nickel Salts Group 97.9%; Mercury
Salts Group 92.7%; Copper Salts Group 32.1%; Gold Salts Group 00.6%;
Bis-GMA Group 00.2%; Acrylates Group 00.8%, etc.
If you desire more information or your dentist would like to obtain
testing kits from Clifford Consulting & Research, Inc. call (719)
550-0008, Fax (719) 550-0009.
There are other facilities doing this type of reactivity testing and
information on them can be obtained by a simple search of the