Biomaterials in Dentistry
by Anagha Reman
(Kannur, Kerala, India)
Biomaterials are substances incorporated with living systems to fix a defect or to replace a natural function. They are widely used in dentistry in the form of restorative materials, metals, polymers, ceramics, etc. Dental biomaterials are becoming increasingly popular because of their ability to restore damaged, decayed or fractured teeth using biocompatible synthetic materials and natural tissues. Natural dental tissues include enamel, dentin, cementum, bone, and other intraoral tissues whereas biocompatible synthetic dental material groups include metals, polymers, ceramics and composite structures.
Usage of biomaterials in dentistry have come a long way since its introduction. A variety of dental biomaterials have been developed as clinical needs of dental patients increase:
Restorative materials include mercury compounds which is a conventional dental filling and composite resin which contributes a lot in an aesthetic point of view. Composites has organic components including the resin, filler and a coupling agent.
Metals are durable and is still discussed in the modern era. Base metals like nickel, cobalt, copper etc. and noble metals like gold, platinum, palladium etc are being used since ages.
Porcelain and biocompatible dental materials made in laboratories are widely used as crowns, veneers and bridges.
Polymers are of significant importance when it comes to removable dentures both complete and partial. Another amazing factor is their contribution in tissue engineering with its capability for regeneration. It is also used in certain dental cements and pit and fissure sealants.
Dental biomaterials have evolved over years alongside the additive technologies into updated formulations with improved properties and ability of interaction. ***