Author Lauren Burns

IADR summary: Dental materials may soon be facing the firing squad

Jan. 17, 2013
The materials you are accustomed to using in your office may be facing the firing squad if they don’t hold up to future tests.

January 17, 2013

The materials you are accustomed to using in your office may be facing the firing squad if they don’t hold up to future tests.

Just over a month ago, the Dental Materials Innovation Workshop was held at King’s College London in order to create a dental materials research agenda to address the shortcomings of existing dental restorative materials. The meeting’s impetus was a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) meeting, which focused on dentistry and “recognized the need for strengthening of research into the long-term performance, possible adverse effects, and viability of such materials.”

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The details of the workshop will not be published until later this year, but the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) has issued a summary of the workshop.

The participants of the workshop included the WHO, UNEP, IADR, FDI, IFDEA, and other representatives from government agencies, centers for dental materials research, and dental manufacturers.

The workshop began with background presentations by Poul Erik Peterson, WHO responsible officer for the Global Oral Health Programme (GOHP) and David Piper, UNEP deputy, Chemicals Branch. Peterson, on behalf of the WHO GOHP, “called for the oral health research community to strengthen operational research in relations to the development and use of new dental restorative materials for public health settings.” The presentation then went on to address the roles of IADR, IFDEA, FDI, and UNEP. Piper, on behalf of UNEP, illuminated the need for “a legally binding treaty on mercury."

Further presentations on the risk to human health of current dental restorative materials and environmental considerations were given before moving on to discuss promising areas of research, design parameters for the “ideal dental restorative material,” and finally, the dental materials research agenda, which included areas of research with a high priority. These areas included, but were not limited to, the following:

  • a potential need for two materials or a gradient in materials in a single cavity (floor of cavity closer to the pulp vs. the surface of the tooth)
  • a potential need to move away from bis-GMA polymer-based materials due to their potential for BPA trace contamination
  • lab tests which reflect the material performance over the lifetime of the material
  • complete human and environmental safety studies for all existing and new materials

You can view a more in-depth explanation in the original summary, Launching a Dental Materials Research Agenda (PDF).

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.