Biological Testing of Dental Materials

By Dr. Vishaal Bhat on Sunday 30 December 2007 with 0 comments



Testing concerns the following groups of materials:

  1. Materials for preserving stomatology - designed for a tooth reconstruction. Both metal and non-metal materials belong to this group. They are inserted into a tooth as a temporary or permanent fillings. They are in a short-term or permanent contact with tissues and the environment of the oral cavity.

  2. Prosthetic materials - designed for the teeth reconstruction. The impression materials will stay for a short time inside the oral cavity, materials for molding of dentures will stay there longer. Implantation materials remain in a tissue permanently.

  3. Materials for endodontics. These materials serve as disinfectants and fillings of the tooth pulp cavity. They may penetrate into the periapical ligamentous tissues and the bones via foramen apicis dentis. Compounds for devitalization of the pulp belong here, too.

  4. Materials for periodontics. These materials are used for treatment of the periodontium, come into a temporary contact with the oral mucosa, submucous ligaments and the bone of the alveolar ridge.

  5. Materials used in orthodontics. Remain inside the oral cavity for the period of up to several years.

  6. Materials for the oral surgery. Are present temporarily inside the oral cavity as plastic bandages or tissue glues.

  7. Materials for stomatological prevention. These materials enter the oral cavity for a long time. They are utilized for filling of dental fissures as a prevention of dental decay or for teeth cleaning.

General overview and the degree of testing are shown in Table 1.


Table 1.: Degree of biological testing of dental materials.

Initial tests

  • Short-term test of systemic toxicity (oral way)


  • Test of acute systemic toxicity (intravenous way)


  • Test of toxicity by inhalation


  • Hemolysis test


  • Coagulation tests


  • Ames test of mutagenicity


  • Clastogenic test


  • Cellular transformation test


  • Test of dominant lethality


  • Cytotoxicity tests

Secondary tests

  • Test of subcutaneous implantation


  • Test of implantation into a bone


  • Sensitization test


  • Test of oral mucosa irritation

Application tests

  • Test of oral mucosa irritation


  • The pulp and dentine test


  • Test of materials used for the pulp overlay and pulpotomy


  • Endodontic application test


  • Bone implants application test

Initial tests:

  • The short-term test of systemic toxicity (oral way): the test is designed to evaluate toxicity of a material tested during a short-term oral administration.

  • Test of acute systemic toxicity (intravenous way): the test is designed to evaluate an acute toxicity during intravenous administration of studied material or extract.

  • Test of toxicity by inhalation: the test is designed to evaluate toxicity of materials or ingredients that are highly volatile at room temperature or under conditions of their use.

  • Hemolysis test: the test is designed to evaluate an acute, in vitro hemolytic activity of materials designed for a long-term contact with the bone and soft tissues.

  • Coagulation tests: the tests should show possible changes that might be evoked by tested samples in the blood coagulation system in vitro. These tests are supplementary.

  • Ames mutagenicity test: the test is designed to investigate mutagenic activity of solid or liquid materials, with recommendations for measurement of gases.

  • Clastogenic test: : the test is designed to investigate mutagenic activity of studied material on the chromosomal level. It is a supplementary test.

  • Test of cellular transformation: the test should determine a potential carcinogenic activity of materials studied.

  • Test of dominant lethality: the aim of this test is to measure the dominant lethality or mutagenicity of materials studied.

  • Cytotoxicity tests: the tests should check cytotoxicity of materials studied. A variety of modifications are utilized in this test according to possibilities of a laboratory. They may be as follows: the test of dynamic determination of contact cytotoxicity, the combined test of cytotoxicity of cellular morphology and metabolism, macro-contact method of the cytotoxicity test, cytotoxicity test in vitro, the test of tissue culture overlaid with agar, the test of proliferation of cells in culture, the test of dilatation of cells.


Secondary tests:

  • Test of subcutaneous implantation: the test is designed to evaluate a toxicity in vivo of tested materials designed for a long-term contact with subcutaneous tissues.

  • Test of implantation into a bone: the test is designed to evaluate a toxicity in vivo of tested materials designed for a long-term contact with the bone.

  • Sensitization test: the test is designed to evaluate a allergo-toxic potential of materials studied.

  • Test of the oral mucosa irritation: the test is designed to evaluate a tissue irritation by a tested material which will be temporarily or permanently adhered to the oral mucosa during its proposed use. This test may be employed as an application one as well.


Application tests:

  • Test of the oral mucosa irritation: the test was already described in the paragraph on secondary tests above.

  • The pulp and dentine test: the test is designed to study reactions of the pulp and dentine to procedures and filling materials.

  • Test of materials used for the pulp capping and pulpotomy: the test is designed for detection of reactions of the pulp and for pulpotomy.

  • Application test of an intra-bone implant: the test is designed for evaluation of materials that are mounted in a bone and penetrate partially the oral mucosa inside the oral cavity.


Category: Dental Materials Notes

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