Bioflex is a marketing name for plastic jewelry, it is not type of material in itself. By APP standards certain polymers (plastics) can be acceptable, but its important to understand materials and their proper applications. Below are some of the APP’s jewelry standards.
- Acceptable Polymers (plastics) are as follows:
- Tygon® Medical Surgical Tubing S-50HL or S-54HL
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that is ASTM F754 compliant
- Any plastic material that is ISO 10993-6, 10993-10 and/or 10993-11 compliant and/or meets the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI material classification.
- All threaded or press-fit jewelry must have internal tapping (no threads on posts).
The above listed materials won’t be toxic in the way that acrylic is, but that doesn’t mean its free from flaws. And that doesn’t mean that the polymer jewelry marketed as “bioflex” will be one of the above accepted material grades. Most plastic jewelry will be externally threaded, which is unacceptable by APP standards. Plastic will also scratch easily, scratches can cause friction damage in a piercing and also harbor bacteria. Many educated and experienced piercers would see polymer jewelry as acceptable for a temporary retainer, but not much else.
Some people think that plastic jewelry will be less likely to cause damage to teeth and gums in oral piercings. While this might be true in the case of biting the jewelry it will not make a difference for friction damage (which is a common cause of gum erosion and enamel damage). Properly fit jewelry made of implant certified titanium or steel would be better for your piercing than poorly fitting polymer jewelry.
Try to look at it this way as well. Among all of the industry’s leading manufacturers of implant certified material, internal thread jewelry, none of them manufacture any options in “bioflex” plastics. That might tell you something.
Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach