Statement of problem: The biological properties of casting alloys have been assessed largely under passive conditions. The effect of common intraoral stresses such as brushing, toothpastes, and low pH on alloy toxicity are not known.
Purpose: This study assessed the toxicity of 5 types of casting alloys commonly used in prosthodontics after toothbrushing, brushing in an acidic environment, or brushing with toothpaste. These toxicities were compared with those observed without any brushing.
Material and methods: Au-Pt, Au-Pd, Pd-Cu-Ga, Ni-Cr-Be, and Ni-Cr (no Be) alloys were brushed for 48 hours in a toothbrushing machine at 90 strokes/minute and 200g force. Alloys were brushed with either saline at pH 7, saline at pH 4 (acidified with sodium lactate), or saline with 1:7 (wt/wt) toothpaste. After the brushing regimen, the cytotoxicity of the alloys was assessed in a standard in vitro test. Cytotoxicities of the alloys after different brushing treatments were compared with unbrushed (control) specimens. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey multiple comparison intervals (alpha=.05) were used to identify significant differences among brushing conditions.
Results: Brushing at pH 7 significantly increased the toxicity of the Pd-Cu-Ga alloy (15% to 20% over unbrushed specimens). Brushing at pH 4 increased the toxicity of the Au-Pt and Au-Pd alloys by 30% and the Pd-Cu-Ga alloy by >40%. The Ni-based alloys were not affected by acid. After being brushed with toothpaste, both Ni-based alloys were significantly more toxic, but Ni-Cr-Be was the worst, increasing more than 60% in toxicity over the controls. The toxicity of the Au-Pd alloy also increased significantly (15%).
Conclusion: Brushing dental casting alloys may increase their cytotoxicity in vitro, but the increase depends heavily on the alloy type and brushing condition.