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Br Dent J. 2004 Apr 24;196(8):471-7; discussion 465.

The national survey of adverse reactions to dental materials in the UK: a preliminary study by the UK Adverse Reactions Reporting Project.

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Department of Adult Dental Care, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TA.



Dental treatment involves the use of a wide range of materials. Many of the dental materials or their components pose a potential risk to the patient and member of the dental team. Pre-market biocompatibility testing cannot guarantee absolute safety, making monitoring of materials likely to cause an adverse reaction essential. The prevalence of adverse reactions to dental materials amongst dental patients and staff has not been systematically monitored in the UK. This project aims to develop a systematic approach to the evaluation and monitoring of the extent and severity of adverse reactions to dental materials in the UK.


Through the distribution of reporting forms to dental surgeries and laboratories in the UK, the ARRP has received 1,075 complete reports relating to adverse reactions seen or experienced by dental staff and patients.


The main findings were that different materials cause adverse reactions to different groups of people. The largest proportion of patient related adverse reactions were reported to be due to metals (n = 175). These were mainly amalgam associated oral lichenoid reactions (n = 124). Dental technicians reported acrylic resin as the causal factor of hand dermatitis in 61% (44 out of a total 72) of cases reported. Finally, dental surgery staff reported gloves as causing hand dermatitis in 75% of cases (398 out of a total 531).


Different dental materials affect different person groups depending on their exposure to the material. Dental staff are most at risk from an adverse reaction to latex gloves, whereas most reported reactions for patients were due to metals. For dental technicians the biggest danger of an adverse reaction was from acrylic resins. There is a need to continue to raise the awareness among dental professionals of the existence of the Adverse Reactions Reporting Project so as to overcome problems of under-reporting.

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