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Materials used in dentistry


Also commonly named “filling”, the amalgam is a sealant made of small particles of silver, tin and copper allied with mercury. Its mechanical properties and longevity has made it a first choice for many years. Its main flaw however is the fact that it contains mercury (admittedly in a stable form). Its unaesthetic aspect is also a shortcoming. This is why its use has become very limited in todays dentistry.


The aesthetic fillings exist since a long time, but the recent development of composite resins (by 3M) made a great impact in dentistry. Today this material is the first choice in conservative restorative dentistry, thanks to the important progress made for pulp protection and in the adhesive techniques. The composite is inserted into the cavity and hardened with a polymerisation lamp. These fillings are sometimes sensitive to cold for a couple of weeks.

Composite is also used to seal permanently crowns and bridges.

Glass Ionomere

This material is used for temporary fillings of deciduous teeth.
It is also used for permanent sealing of crowns and bridges as is very well tolerated.


In dentistry gold is found in the form of gold alloys. It is an ideal material because of its harmlessness, precision, and rigidity, which is essential for important prosthetic realisations. It is mainly used for posterior reconstructions. Grey gold is usually chosen because it is less visible.


Because of the vast aesthetic possibilities they offer, the ceramic restorations have become the material of choice in fixed prosthetics (Crowns and Bridges). Its drawback is that it is extremely hard and can sometimes fracture.

Steel (chrome-cobalt)
This material is used in removable prosthetics for framework and clasps.


It is used in implantology due to its antiallergic qualities. It can also be used in rare cases of metal allergy with removable prosthetics.

Acrylic resin

It is used to make the artificial gingiva in removable dentures. The teeth of dentures are made of acrylic resin or ceramics.


Zirconium is mainly used for the framework of fixed prosthetics. It is a type of CADCAM ceramic used in dentistry for the last 20 years, popular due to its biologic compatibility and its aesthetic properties. However, it is very expensive due to the advanced technology it requires.

Unfortunately it has given poor results in implantology and cannot be recommended in this field.

Tooth bleaching products

These are used to optimize the aesthetics of yellowed front teeth. For night use, they consist of “carbamide peroxide” gels. For day use, derivatives of hydrogen peroxide are used. For internal bleaching, for example a tooth having darkened after a root treatment, carbamide peroxide is also used.

The gels used for micro-abrasion are composed of phosphoric acid.

Bone filling products

Bone filling with artificial bone grafts has made considerable progress and has largely replaced heterogeneous transplants (no longer used) and homogenous transplants (still occasionally used). The bone grafts are made of a micro porous ceramic, which is biocompatible (Bio-Oss).
The resorbable membranes used for guided osseous regeneration are now the choice of technique in oral surgery.


Particular products and drugs are used for root treatments. Their aim is to prolong the vitality of the tooth when this seems possible (Calcium hydroxide). If the vitality of the tooth cannot be preserved, the pulp chamber and the root canals will be disinfected and hermetically sealed. The disinfectants will be active (for example corticoids) but the permanent seal of the canals will be done with an inert substance (for example gutta- percha).

The MTA (Mineral Trioxide Aggregate) is a very biocompatible material that has been used successfully since several years, particularly in endodontics involving apical resection.