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Drugs are systematically tested for toxicity according to strict standards nowdays. But are products and materials used in dentistry (varnishes, resins, metals, acrylic, cements, etc..) tested using the same standards as for usual drugs ? In particular, are they tested for long term low grade toxicity or just for short term acute toxicity ? I have in mind for instance the role of BPA as a well known endocrine disruptor, and that substance is nevertheless allowed and used in dentistry.

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In the US, medical devices including those used in dentistry both for diagnostic equipment and for things like cement, amalgams, etc are regulated by the FDA. Presumably in other countries the equivalent regulatory agencies are involved. FDA device regulation is similar to that of drugs, and in some ways can be even more stringent due to the difficulty in removing medical devices (vs stopping medication) should problems arise. The specific support required for approval will depend on what exactly the device is.

The EU guidance seems to be that exposure to BPA from medical devices (including dental devices) is low and not of much concern. Most BPA release from dental products is within the first hour after implant and at levels below that which causes harm.

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  • What is meant as levels which causes no harm ? for instance, this article argues that even very low doses of endocrine disruptors, below what is considered as safe, can be harmful ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365860
    – huurd
    May 17 at 17:24
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    @huurd I'm only referring to what they say in the piece I linked. You can read the report for information about how they came to that determination. May 17 at 17:49
  • @huurd You can't have a substance that "causes no harm" and yet also "can be harmful" unless you're applying two separate standards of harm, and my understanding is the FDA and their counterparts outside the US generally apply the same standards to both fields. After all, dentistry is basically just medicine limited to the teeth and gums just as podiatry is medicine limited to the feet and ankles. It wouldn't make sense to allow dentists or podiatrists to use something known to be harmful but not allow doctors to do the same.
    – Carey Gregory
    May 18 at 0:14
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    Also, the question isn't as simple as causes harm yes or no. The question is harm vs. benefit. Plenty of beneficial drugs also cause harm (eg, chemotherapy), but the judgement was that all the bad side effects were balanced out by preventing worse things, like death. I'm sure the same choices are made in dentistry, though usually less dramatically. Does an hour of exposure to x amount of BPA outweigh the risks it poses? That's the question they're asking, not simply whether BPA in any quantity can cause harm.
    – Carey Gregory
    May 18 at 0:29

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