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    A close look at how Pulpdent’s ACTIVA BioACTIVE material was created

    Pulpdent’s Fred Berk tells DPR what sets this bioactive material apart from passive materials.

    Pulpdent’s ACTIVATM BioACTIVE is a dental filling material that behaves much like natural teeth. The material is “bioactive,” meaning it stimulates the formation of apatite (the building blocks of teeth) and chemically bonds to teeth, which helps seal them against decay.

    We talked to Fred Berk, vice president of Pulpdent, about the product and how it encourages the body’s natural remineralization process.

    What are bioactive materials?

    Bioactive dental materials imitate nature, play a dynamic role in the mouth and deliver the minerals teeth need to stay healthy. They stimulate the natural remineralization process with the release of beneficial ions, such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride. In the presence of saliva, they elicit a biological response that forms a layer of apatite and a natural bond at the material-tooth interface. Bioactive materials transport or store water, interact with saliva and tooth structure, and actively participate in the cycles of ionic exchange that regulate the natural chemistry of teeth and saliva and contribute to the maintenance of oral health.

    Read more: Pulpdent celebrates 70 years

    How are they used clinically?

    There are different categories of bioactive materials for various indications. Most are non-esthetic materials used for endodontic purposes, as dentin replacement materials, or for cementation. These would include calcium-based materials, such as calcium hydroxide, calcium silicate (MTA) and calcium aluminate. ACTIVA BioACTIVE materials are the only esthetic bioactive restorative materials. They are flowable, resin-based bioactive restoratives with the same indications as traditional and flowable composites, and syringe dispensing provides ease of application.

    What qualities set them apart from passive materials?

    Biochemistry only occurs in the presence of water. So first and foremost, bioactive materials are moisture-friendly. They have the capability to transport or store water, and they may even contain water. Bioactive materials can play a dynamic role in the mouth and respond to pH changes in the oral environment. They release and recharge their ionic components, providing teeth with the essential minerals they need to stay healthy. Passive materials, such as traditional composites, are hydrophobic, repel water, do not stimulate remineralization and have no capacity for bioactivity. They are designed to be neutral and do no harm, and as a result, they do not provide any benefits other than filling a space.

    What kinds of results can a doctor expect from bioactive materials?

    Dentists and their patients expect esthetic, durable restoratives with better long-term outcomes, and bioactive materials, such as ACTIVA, deliver these results. The NIH/NIDCR reports that the average life expectancy of traditional composite restorations is 5.7 years. This is not acceptable; amalgams lasted two or three times longer. The degradation of bonding agents, which leads to microleakage at the material-tooth interface, has been identified as the primary contributor to restoration failure. In addition, the brittleness of traditional composites can result in fracture and chipping, and traditional cavity preps, designed for amalgams, may also be a factor in restoration failure.

    Bioactive materials that mimic the physical and chemical properties of teeth, and that are moisture-friendly and easy to use, are an attractive alternative to traditional materials. They stimulate apatite formation at the material-tooth interface that knits the restoration and tooth together, guards against secondary caries, and seals against microleakage and failure. ACTIVA has the advantage of esthetics, strength and durability, and it contains a patented rubberized-resin molecule that absorbs stress and resists fracture and chipping.

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    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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