Oral Health: Dental Resins May Disrupt Psychosocial Function

Published Online: Friday, August 17, 2012

Updates on dental health for kids include a finding that tooth decay is more common in children with celiac disease,a warning about the use of dental composites in pediatric patients, and a look at racial disparities in dentist visits.

Exposure to a popular white composite known as bisphenol-A-glycidyl-metacrylate (bisGMA) that is typically used to seal cavities was found to be associated with impaired emotional function in children, according to results from The New England Children’s Amalgam Trial published in the July 16, 2012, edition of the journal Pediatrics.

The study included 543 children aged 6 to 10 years at baseline who received 2 or more fillings made of either amalgam (an alloy of mercury) or a composite made with bisGMA or urethane. Psychosocial function of the children was measured both before the dental work and 5 years after the fillings were in place using responses from the Behavior Assessment System for Children and the Child Behavior Checklist.

Analysis of the results revealed that children with higher cumulative contact with bisGMA-based resins were more likely to report poorer emotional scores. Despite the researchers’ initial concern surrounding the long-term effects of using amalgam, patients who received urethane- or silver-based fillings displayed no adverse behavioral outcomes.

The association between behavior and exposure to bisGMA was more significant in children who had fillings in their back molars. Researchers explained that degradation of composite material is more likely at the site of these posterior chewing surfaces, and as a result, children with fillings in these locations may swallow more of the chemicals released from composite material breakdown

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