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Safe Dental Materials Selection





MCS America

Lourdes Salvador's Column

...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.









Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). She was a passionate advocate for the homeless and worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who serve them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week, a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air.


For more information visit MCS America




Monday, February 9th, 2009:


Safe Dental Materials Selection


by Lourdes Salvador



Q: I need to have dental work done. What materials are safe for those with MCS?


A: Sensitivity varies from person to person, so it is difficult to make a specific recommendation. The best way to check compatibility is to have biocompatibility testing done and research the dental materials for safety concerns.


Biocompatibility testing may be done to determine allergy and toxicity reactions for the assorted crowns, cements, filling materials, anesthetics, and other materials used in dentistry.


Clifford Consulting and Research offers the Clifford Materials Reactivity Testing (CMRT), which is a laboratory screening process used to help identify existing sensitivity problems to various chemical groups and families of compounds in an individual patient. The test reports on over 7100 trade-named products and 89 chemical groups and families. More information may be obtained (nfi) at:


or by calling (719)550-0008.


VEGA bio-dermal testing is a biocompatibility testing method first used in Chinese medicine which uses a VEGA machine. The VEGA machine is connected by a wire to a hand-held electrical probe which the physician presses against the individual acupoint of interest while the patient holds a brass tube in one hand, permitting a completed electrical circuit to occur when the metal-tipped probe touches the acupoint. Micro voltage electrical information is communicated to the VEGA Machine and displayed on a readout device or computer. A metallic platform for placing the material being tested is also attached. This information provides a reading of the electrical energy generated.


If both tests show that a material is acceptable, you can then try holding some in your hand, placing it in your mouth, and inhaling it to see if there is any detectable "toxic" effect to you beyond those basic reactivity tests. Place some of the material on your night stand while you sleep to determine how well tolerated the substance is in your immediate environment..


Finally, take the list of acceptable materials and research each of them. Looking for any red warning flags, such as materials or brands which have been shown to have contaminants. Then select the needed materials from the potential list with your dentist.


A good holistic dentist should be very familiar with these procedures and insist upon testing before beginning any work once you alert him/her to your medical condition.


A resource for holistic dentists may be found at:




For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.


Copyrighted 2008 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America



Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Forums







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  • Filling Materials


    Amalgam is the most commonly used material for back teeth. It contains approximately 50% mercury and varying amounts of silver (30%), tin, zinc, and copper. It is the least costly and least time-consuming to place. It does not hold its shape over time, corrodes easily, and is expected to last 5-10 years. The controversy is that it contains mercury, a known neurotoxin (poison to the nervous system).


    Galloy is a brand new material containing silver, tin, copper, indium, and gallium. It is meant to be mercury-free alternative to amalgam. Why is the American Dental Association developing & patenting this substitute for mercury amalgam if mercury amalgam is safe?

    Direct Composite

    A direct composite is a special plastic material that bonds to tooth structure, is tooth colored, is more easily repairable, and requires less tooth structure to be trimmed away than any other material. It is expected to last 5-7 years, although small to moderate size fillings may last longer. Research has shown that it reinforces the tooth and makes it stronger. Cost and time to perform is about 50-75% more than amalgam. Composites are a petrochemical derivative and, as such, are a possible problem for the environmentally sensitive.

    Indirect Composite Inlay/Onlay

    This type of restoration is used when ideal fit and durability is desired, which is seldom achieved with a direct composite filling. Cost is approximately 2-3 times that of an amalgam filling and takes two visits.

    Porcelain Inlay/Onlay

    Dental ceramics (sometimes referred to as dental porcelains) have come a long way! Until a few years ago, these materials were relatively weak (that’s why they required support from a metal substructure) and abrasive (causing wear on the opposing teeth). Today there are many different types of ceramic systems: Feldspathic, Leucite-reinforced, Polymer-reinforced, Zirconium-based–each with unique properties. From rebuilding broken teeth to replacing missing teeth (even in the back of the mouth), there is a ceramic to do the job. However, they are more difficult to use than conventionally cemented (non-bonded) crowns.

    Picking the right ceramic for the job, proper tooth preparation, quality laboratory work, and meticulous cementation technique are all needed for a successful tooth restoration. It costs about the same as an indirect composite inlay/onlay and takes two visits. Most ceramic and resin-based materials contain metals in the form of oxides (such as aluminum) or even heavy metals (such as cobalt, barium or cadmium). These are usually added to give the amterials strength and improve their appearance. Sometimes they are added to make the restoration show up on x-rays. The number of materials that do not contain any of these products is very limited. However, the advantage of being oxide-free is lost when these are bonded to the tooth using an oxide-containing luting agent.

    Gold Inlay/Onlay

    Because of gold’s long history, it is the standard against which other materials are judged. This type of restoration is used when maximum strength is desired and appearance is not a factor. Gold is almost never used in its pure form; rather gold is used as an alloy with other metal elements. It costs approximately three to four times more than an amalgam and takes 2 visits. There are many formulations of gold, varying from 1% to 99%. The other metals are added in order to give the gold strength and the ability to bond to porcelain (in the case of porcelain veneer fused to cover a gold crown). The most commonly added metals are palladium, silver, copper, and platinum.

    The composition and amount of each metal in the alloy determines whether it is classified as a “high noble,” “noble,” or “base” metal. “Noble” metals are defined as gold, platinum and palladium. The most expensive gold alloys are “high noble” and they are defined as hving at least 60% noble metals and at least 40% gold. An alloy can still be called “noble” if it has at least 25% noble metal content. The cheapest materials fail even that test and are called “base” alloys–they have less than 25% noble metals. It is especially important for patients with metal sensitivities to avoid the base alloys since these usually contain toxic metals such as nickel and chromium;. But even the high noble materials can be incompatible for patients and even toxic; palladium, for example, is toxic.

    Titanium Inlay/Onlay

    Titanium is used when a gold alloy is not biocompatible; otherwise, the benefits, cost, and time to perform are the same as for a gold alloy, even though it is not a precious metal. It takes two visits.

    [Url=""]Dentist Raleigh NC[/Url]

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