Monthly Archives: March 2019

Talking to Patients about Bioactive Restoratives

By Dr. Robert A. Lowe, DDS

Most patients have a limited understanding of restorative dentistry. As a profession, we have to get better at explaining the disease process of dental caries (decay) and the restorative options that best fit the needs of each patient. Patients need to understand the benefits of early diagnosis and bioactive restorative materials as an integral part of their plan to keep their teeth healthy for a lifetime.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when talking to patients about bioactive restoratives:

  1. Learn About the Patient
    When it comes to dental restorations, one size does NOT fit all. To ensure effective diagnosis and treatment planning, ask questions about dental hygiene, existing restorations, and frequency of dental appointments.
  2. Review the Basics of Tooth Biology and Dental Decay
    Start by reviewing the basics of tooth biology and the disease process of dental caries. Explain that, like bones, teeth are made of minerals, specifically calcium and phosphate. The bacteria in our mouths feeds on sugars, release acids, and cause teeth to lose essential minerals. This is the beginning of tooth decay.
  3. Diagnose Early
    Talk to patients about the benefits of early diagnosis and conservative restorative options that can help patients keep their dentition healthy into their advanced years of life. Bioactive restorative materials that support the natural remineralization process can help preserve existing tooth structure.
  4. Share the Benefits of Bioactivity
    Explain how bioactive restorative materials release and recharge essential minerals that help rebuild and protect teeth from acid attack. Rather than merely filling up space, these materials interact and integrate with tooth structure, creating a seal between the material and the tooth.

This article originally appeared in the Inside Dentistry eBook Bioactive Composites for the Clinician and Patient. Click here to download the complete eBook.

About Robert A. Lowe, DDS
Robert A. Lowe, DDS, received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Loyola University School of Dentistry. After completing his residency, Dr. Lowe went into private practice and began to pursue another passion: clinical teaching. While running his own practice, Dr. Lowe served as a Clinical Professor in Restorative Dentistry at Loyola University School of Dentistry until its closure in 1993. In 2000, he relocated to Charlotte, NC.

Bioactive Basics: What You Need to Know

Bioactive materials help stimulate the natural remineralization process. In the presence of saliva, they elicit a biological response that forms a layer of apatite and a natural bond between the material and the tooth.*

Pulpdent’s research focuses on developing bioactive materials that imitate the physical and chemical properties of teeth, help neutralize conditions that cause dental caries, and maximize the potential for remineralization.

ACTIVA BioACTIVE materials behave favorably in the moist oral environment. They participate in a dynamic system of ionic exchange with saliva and tooth structure, continuously releasing and recharging calcium, phosphate and fluoride and responding to pH changes in the mouth. When the pH is low, the demineralization process releases calcium and phosphate ions from both the teeth and ACTIVA. When the pH increases, these ions are available to combine with the fluoride ions in our saliva and precipitate onto the teeth in the form of acid-resistant fluorapatite.

The addition of a patented rubberized-resin molecule to the ACTIVA resin matrix absorbs stress and shock and delivers unprecedented toughness and fracture resistance.

ACTIVA BioACTIVE materials are strong, esthetic and durable, and offer an
alternative to traditional composites, which are strong and esthetic but are passive and without bioactive potential, and to glass ionomers, that release a significant amount of fluoride but have poor esthetics and undesirable physical properties.

Interested in learning more? Download the ACTIVA White Paper.


*Hench LL, et al. J Biomed Mater Res 1972;2:117-141.
*Jefferies SR. J Esthet Restor Dent 2014;26(1):14–26.