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FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BioComp Labs is a specialized laboratory dedicated to investigating the reactivity potential of restorative materials, especially in the field of dentistry.

Dr. Hal Huggins understood the importance of biocompatible dental materials decades ago, which is why he started BioComp Laboratories. As a researcher and toxicologist, he knew that he would only list materials given by manufactures that provided the maximum composition of their products, which may include aluminum. He noted that many dental materials had aluminum and that it is toxic to humans. It is only now, that some dental professionals are investigating this very important aspect of dentistry to protect not only their patients, but also their staff and themselves. Unfortunately, the research on dental materials and the negative impact on human health, continues to be lacking.

The immune system is the body’s natural defense against pathogens, whether bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic. However, the immune system also defends the body against antigens, which are molecules that do not contain the body’s own HCC

(histocompatibility complex) on its surface, and are therefore recognized as “non-self.” Therefore, they are capable of inducing an immune response in the host organism. Sometimes, antigens even can attach themselves to the host, and the body inaccurately recognizes “the whole complex” as antigenic – something to be gotten rid of. When the immune system detects either an invading pathogen or an antigen (anything that is not identifiable as either part of the body or compatible with it), it reacts with an immune response. This is designed to quarantine and/or destroy the detected threat.

Immunologic cross-reactivity occurs when adaptive immune response against one antigen also occurs to another antigen with amino acid structural similarity. Immunological cross-reactivity was first identified in 1942 when it was found that individuals sensitized to pollen allergens developed immune reactivity to specific fruits. Simply stated: Reactivity is the amount of change that occurs in the immune system upon exposure to a foreign substance. (SOURCE) 

An allergy is a chronic condition involving an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergenAllergens can include aeroallergens such as dust mite, mold, and tree weed and grass pollen, as well as food allergens such as milk, egg, soy, wheat, nut or fish proteins. If you have an allergy, your immune system views the allergen as an invader and a chain reaction is initiated. White blood cells of the immune system produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to special cells called mast cells, causing a release of potent chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals cause symptoms such as:

  • Itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes
    • Sneezing
    • Stuffy nose (congestion)
    • Runny nose
    • Tearing eyes
    • Dark circles under the eyes
    • Food allergies may present with vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory symptoms or anaphylaxis immediately after ingestion of the culprit allergen.

An allergy is a reaction on the part of the body to an allergen: a foreign substance that elicits an immune response. (SOURCE) 

Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world.

Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.  The chemical properties of elemental mercury allow it to react with and bind together the silver/copper/tin alloy particles to form an amalgam. Dental amalgam fillings are also known as “silver fillings” because of their silver-like appearance.  Despite the name, “silver fillings” do contain elemental mercury. (SOURCE) 

Mercury in all forms poisons cellular function by altering the tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins and by binding with sulfhydryl and selenohydryl groups. Consequently, mercury can potentially impair function of any organ, or any subcellular structure. The chief target organ of mercury vapor is the brain, but peripheral nerve function, renal function, immune function, endocrine and muscle function, and several types of dermatitis have been described. Most human exposure to mercury is caused by outgassing of mercury from dental amalgam, ingestion of contaminated fish, or occupational exposure, according to the World Health Organization. (SOURCE) 

Due to the enormous increase in their usage throughout the world, the effect of cell phone radiation on human health has been an area of recent interest. Mobile phones emit electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range which may be harmful to human health. Based on the proximity of mobile phones to the oral cavity, during the conversation period and the presence of the metallic orthodontic appliances in the mouth, there might be a serious risk of exposure of these appliances to the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiations emitted by the mobile phones, leading to the release of toxic corrosion products into the saliva. (SOURCE) 

Metals present within the body can act as an antenna to collect harmful radio waves, thus inducing many general and severe symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, tinnitus, dizziness, memory loss, irregular heartbeats, and whole‐body skin symptoms, which are considered to be caused by electromagnetic hypersensitivity. In dentistry, titanium dental implants may be the material most commonly associated with antenna activity and may promote harmful effects of electromagnetic waves. Dental treatments should be performed in a manner that avoids the harmful influences of radio waves on patients. (SOURCE) 

Exposure to RF-EMFs emitted from mobile phones can lead to human exposure to higher levels of nickel in saliva in patients with orthodontic appliances. As nickel exposure can lead to allergic reaction in humans and considering this point that about 10–20% of the population can be hypersensitive to nickel, further studies are needed to evaluate the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) emitted from common devices such as mobile phones or Wi-Fi routers on the level of nickel release from orthodontic brackets. (SOURCE) 

Electro-magnetic Field Radiation of Mobile Phones As A Cause of Increased Release of Mercury from Amalgam Fillings and Risk of Harmful Effects on Health (2019) reported that the results showed significantly higher level of Hg in urine after exposure of EMF of mobile phone, only in a group of examinees with amalgam fillings. The results showed significant matches with some published papers by other researchers. These effects might cause potential organism disorders and represent secondary harmful effects of electro-magnetic radiation on the health of individuals. This approach throws a new light in clarifying the interplay of cellular electro-magnetic radiation and increased the release of mercury from the amalgam fillings. Increased toxic effects are imposed by themselves as possible. (SOURCE)

According to Merriam- Webster, the definition of biocompatibility is: compatibility with living tissue or a living system by not being toxic, injurious, or physiologically reactive and not causing immunological rejection.

Biocompatibility is the degree to which a given substance does not elicit an immune response from a particular individual.

Dental toxicity is the complex condition resulting from both the cumulative effects derived from the placement of biologically incompatible materials in the mouth and their potential to do harm.

Restorative materials replace the function and appearance of a natural tooth. However, no restorative material can fully replace its biological original, especially at a vital or energetic level.

The kinds of materials available for use in dental restorations are incredibly varied. A wide range of compounds are utilized in dentistry such as dental composites, resins, and implants. The successful clinical use of dental materials relies on their physiochemical properties as well as biological and toxicological reliability. Different local and systemic toxicities of dental materials have been reported. Placement of these materials in oral cavity for a long time period might yield unwanted reactions. An extensive variety of materials is used in dentistry including filling materials, restorative materials, intracanal medicines, prosthetic materials, different types of implants, liners, and irrigants. The increasing rate in development of the novel materials with applications in the dental field has led to an increased consciousness of the biological risks and tempting restrictions of these materials. The biocompatibility of a biomaterial used for the replacement or filling of biological tissue such as teeth always had a high concern within the health care disciplines for patients. (SOURCE) 

The metallic materials commonly used in conventional dentistry are mercury dental amalgams, nickel, copper, gold, aluminum, titanium, silver and casting alloys.

The mouth is a hostile environment and when various metals are present, they corrode and the material can then relocate to another area of the body, far from the oral cavity. The problem is that when health starts to decline, the cause may be toxicity caused by dental materials, but often doctors will not explore this possibility.

A comprehensive analysis of published data indicates that heavy metals such as arsenic cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury, occur naturally. However, anthropogenic activities contribute significantly to environmental contamination. These metals are systemic toxicants known to induce adverse health effects in humans, including cardiovascular diseases, developmental abnormalities, neurologic and neurobehavioral disorders, diabetes, hearing loss, hematologic and immunologic disorders, and various types of cancer. The main pathways of exposure include ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. The severity of adverse health effects is related to the type of heavy metal and its chemical form, and is also time- and dose-dependent. Among many other factors, speciation plays a key role in metal toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and is highly influenced by factors such as valence state, particle size, solubility, biotransformation, and chemical form. Several studies have shown that toxic metals exposure causes long term health problems in human populations. Although the acute and chronic effects are known for some metals, little is known about the health impact of mixtures of toxic elements. Recent reports have pointed out that these toxic elements may interfere metabolically with nutritionally essential metals such as iron, calcium, copper, and zinc. However, the literature is scarce regarding the combined toxicity of heavy metals. Simultaneous exposure to multiple heavy metals may produce a toxic effect that is either additive, antagonistic or synergistic.

A recent review of a number of individual studies that addressed metals interactions reported that co-exposure to metal/metalloid mixtures of arsenic, lead and cadmium produced more severe effects at both relatively high dose and low dose levels in a biomarker-specific manner. These effects were found to be mediated by dose, duration of exposure and genetic factors. Also, human co-exposure to cadmium and inorganic arsenic resulted in a more pronounced renal damage than exposure to each of the elements alone. In many areas of metal pollution, chronic low dose exposure to multiple elements is a major public health concern. Elucidating the mechanistic basis of heavy metal interactions is essential for health risk assessment and management of chemical mixtures. Hence, research is needed to further elucidate the molecular mechanisms and public health impact associated with human exposure to mixtures of toxic metals. (SOURCE) 

Several heavy metals are found naturally in the earth crust and are exploited for various industrial and economic purposes. Among these heavy metals, a few have direct or indirect impact on the human body. Some of these heavy metals such as copper, cobalt, iron, nickel, magnesium, molybdenum, chromium, selenium, manganese and zinc have functional roles which are essential for various diverse physiological and biochemical activities in the body. However, some of these heavy metals in high doses can be harmful to the body while others such as cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, silver, and arsenic in minute quantities have delirious effects in the body causing acute and chronic toxicities in humans. (SOURCE)  

This paper is an excellent example of a case study where the patient was exposed to multiple metal based dental materials, including mercury, as well as cross‐reactions between nickel and palladium, causing systemic hypersensitivity or toxicity. (SOURCE) 

“Nickel: Human Health and Environmental Toxicology” reports that nickel contact can cause a variety of side effects on human health, such as allergy, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, lung fibrosis, lung and nasal cancer. Although the molecular mechanisms of nickel-induced toxicity are not yet clear, mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative stress are thought to have a primary and crucial role in the toxicity of this metal. Recently, researchers, trying to characterize the capability of nickel to induce cancer, have found out that epigenetic alterations induced by nickel exposure can perturb the genome. (SOURCE) 

The antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects of a copper-loaded zinc oxide phosphate cement was investigated by Wassmann et al, (2020) and concluded within the limitations of this study, there is no evidence for improved antibacterial or antifungal properties of the tested copper-loaded cement, either in vitro or in vivo. In fact, C. albicans showed a significantly higher initial adhesion to Co-ZOP compared with conventional ZOP. These findings may result from a low surface allocation of copper in the Co-ZOP. Furthermore, both tested cements exhibited significant cytotoxicity against human and animal cell cultures. Based on the results of this study, no clinical recommendation can be given for the use of the tested Co-ZOP. (SOURCE ASOURCE BSOURCE C

Composite resins release ions such as fluoride, strontium, and aluminum. Some other ions are implicated in the color of the restorative material and these metal elements may interfere with the biocompatibility of the resin because they are implicated in the Fenton reaction producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are cytotoxic. The concentration of F- and Sr2+ ions is too low to be cytotoxic. In contrast, Cu2+, Al3+, and Fe2+ are present in toxic concentrations. The cytotoxic cascade was shown to be enhanced by metals such as aluminum and iron present in various amounts in composite resins and RM-GIC. (SOURCE) 

According to Alexandrov et al., in their paper titled “Synergism in aluminum and mercury neurotoxicity (2018)” aluminum and mercury are common neurotoxic contaminants in our environment – from the air we breathe to the water that we drink to the foods that we eat. It is remarkable that to date neither of these two well-established environmental neurotoxins (i.e. those having a general toxicity towards brain cells) and genotoxins (those agents which exhibit directed toxicity toward the genetic apparatus) have been critically studied, nor have their neurotoxicities been evaluated in human neurobiology or in cells of the human central nervous system (CNS). The effects aluminum + mercury together on other neurologically important signaling molecules or the effects of other combinations of common environmental metallic neurotoxins to human neurobiology currently remain not well understood but certainly warrant additional investigation and further study in laboratory animals, in human primary tissue cultures of CNS cells, and in other neurobiologically realistic experimental test systems. (SOURCE)

Dr. Hal Huggins understood the importance of biocompatible materials decades ago, which is why he started BioComp Laboratories. As a researcher and toxicologist, he knew that he would only list materials given by manufactures that provided the maximum composition of their products, which may include aluminum.

Dental composites are typically composed of four major components: organic polymer matrix (2,2-bis[p-(2′-hydroxy-3′methacryloxypropoxy)phenylene]propane (BisGMA), bisphenol A ethoxylated dimethacrylate (BisEMA), triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA), urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA), etc.

(SOURCE: Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry, 2013 )

Dental composites are typically composed of four major components: organic polymer matrix (2,2-bis[p-(2′-hydroxy-3′methacryloxypropoxy)phenylene]propane (BisGMA), bisphenol A ethoxylated dimethacrylate (BisEMA), triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA), urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA), etc.

(SOURCE: Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry, 2013 )

Most people would be surprised to know that older dentures used a mercuric compound to achieve the pink-gum-look of a denture. Many contemporary dentures still contain bismuth and zinc. The more expensive, more natural-looking denture teeth are sometimes high in aluminum. Acrylic resins are widely used in the fabrication of denture bases and have been shown to be cytotoxic as a result of substances that leach from the resin. (SOURCE) 

Whenever, a patient wearing an acrylic prosthesis complains for allergic reaction or chemical irritation, the possibility of these symptoms caused by denture base materials must be considered. These materials have good properties and offer reasonable aesthetics, however; they may cause toxic side effects in some individuals. Regardless of the curing technique used, the presence of unreacted residual monomer in denture base acrylic resins is inevitable and could be a source of problem for both clinicians and the patients and techniques must be applied in laboratory and clinical settings to reduce the exposure as much as possible. In addition, emphasis must be given to raise awareness among the dental students and technicians about the possible hazardous side effects caused by these materials. (SOURCE) 

Although reported, allergic reactions to metallic alloys in the context of porcelain-fused-to- metal (PFM) devices are not well documented. Allergic reactions to high noble and noble metal alloy cores of palladium and gold and to base metal alloys nickel and cobalt in the context of PFM fixed partial dentures (FPDs) are reported. Each type of metal is associated with a different rate of allergic reactions, which may be attributed to the extent of corrosion of the alloy, population exposure, and the biologic environment. Because few studies document allergic reactions to metals that comprise PFM crowns and partial dentures, further research in this field is necessary to determine the frequency and type of reactions elicited. (SOURCE)

There are literally hundreds of different brands of composite materials available for dentists to choose from. Over 50% of them are very high in aluminum. The same holds true for ceramic materials commonly used in conventional dentistry.

There are many aspects of dental procedures, and materials that can be toxic to a patient. One way that dental toxicity can be avoided is by keeping mercury, nickel, titanium and all other heavy metals out of your mouth. All dental cast alloys release metal ions into the oral environment which have the potential to interact with the oral tissues. Amount and type of metal elements released are varying and not directly related to the composition of the alloy. (SOURCE) 

Zinc and Copper released from gold alloys, and Nickel released from nickel–chromium alloys, which are commonly used as fixed prosthodontic restorations, show evidence of a high cytotoxic effect on fibroblast cell cultures. (SOURCE)

It is important to never allow someone to talk you into getting a root canal. Research has shown that there are tremendous risks of infections, in fact, they have been shown to be associated with a plethora of diseases, also the materials used in root canal treatments can be toxic to the patient. Microbial infection in the root canal system induces an inflammatory reaction in the periapical tissues. At the early phases of infection, dentine resists bacterial invasion. The inflammatory reaction provoked by microbes restricts blood circulation in the pulp and debilitates
its ability to respond to the microbial challenge, which leads to irreversible pulp damage and pulpal necrosis. However, infiltration of immune cells to the apical tissues and osteclast activity may begin already before pulpal necrosis. Apical periodontitis (AP), the inflammation and destruction of the apical periodontium due to infection
in the root canal system, can be either acute and symptomatic or chronic and minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic. (SOURCE) 

This study aimed to compare the cytotoxicity of MTA Fillapex, AH-26 and Apatite root canal sealers at different times after mixing. All studied sealers exhibited severe cytotoxicity (more than 70%) except for Apatite sealer (95%) at 48 h after mixing. Overall cytotoxicity of all studied materials were severe. However, it was observed that the cytotoxicity of MTA Fillapex, AH-26 and Apatite root canal sealer decreased over time. Apatite root canal sealer exhibited the least cytotoxicity. Cytotoxicity of MTA Fillapex and AH-26 were similar at different time intervals. (SOURCE) 

If you have any extracted teeth, for example wisdom teeth, you must make sure that the extraction site is properly cleaned so that an infection/cavitation does not form. The transition from acute local inflammation following wisdom tooth surgery to a chronic stage of “Silent Inflammation” could be a neglected cause of unexplained medical conditions. The incomplete wound healing and associated “Silent Inflammation” in the jawbone may contribute via peripheral, local chemokine Rantes/ Ccl-5 (R/C) overexpression to various symptoms in the central nervous system which are typical of chemokine’s. From a systemic perspective, we recommend that more attention be paid to this cytokine cross-talk in medicine and dentistry. (SOURCE) 

Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion.

In addition, more than 11 million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability”—pain, swelling, bruising, and malaise—result postoperatively, and more than 11000 people suffer permanent paresthesia—numbness of the lip, tongue, and cheek—as a consequence of nerve injury during the surgery. At least two thirds of these extractions, associated costs, and injuries are unnecessary, constituting a silent epidemic of iatrogenic injury that afflicts tens of thousands of people with lifelong discomfort and disability. Avoidance of prophylactic extraction of third molars can prevent this public health hazard. (SOURCE) 

Only go to a biological dentist who truly understands the relationship between the mouth, whole body health, and the importance of biocompatibility testing on dental restorations. 

BioComp classifies tested materials according to three levels of reactivity with regard to each individual person: least reactive, moderately reactive, and highly reactive.

There is no non-reactive classification, for the simple reason that anything that is not self will elicit at least a small immune reaction.

No, BioComp Labs does not diagnose disease. Rather, it assists healthcare providers in determining which restorative materials are the best options for use with their individual patients.

No, BioComp Labs does not diagnose disease. Rather, it assists healthcare providers in determining which restorative materials are the best options for use with their individual patients.

If the patient’s body is still dealing with foods that have been eaten within the last 12 hours, and some of those foods are allergens, then the reactivity panel will be skewed.

Because we are closed on weekends and even if you overnight your sample, it may sit outdoors in the elements until Monday morning. 

The BioComp test does not use whole blood, but only the serum portion. We must have enough serum to fill a large number of small test tubes.

Test results are usually completed within one week.

Dr. Huggins noted that many dental materials had aluminum and that it is toxic to humans.
It is only now, that some dental professionals are investigating this very important aspect of
dentistry to protect not only their patients, but also their staff and themselves. 

While the research on dental materials and the negative impact on human health is lacking,
BioComp Labs remains dedicated to the investigation of dental material reactivity – because your health matters.

BioComp Labs is dedicated to the investigation of dental material reactivity because your health matters.