Materials used in dental prosthetics

Dentistry uses a variety of materials and techniques to treat pathologies and reconstruct dental structures.

Prosthodontics is a complex branch of dentistry, uses a variety of materials and techniques and involves the dentist collaborating with another discipline: dental technology.

It restores the dental arches as a whole and the anatomical and functional characteristics of the patient must be taken into account when designing prosthetic work.

Restorative materials must fulfil a number of qualities – they must be biologically acceptable, functional and must not interfere with physiological processes. Some of these qualities are listed below:

  • Strength – ensures the durability and integrity of the prosthetic parts

  • Aesthetics – successfully mimics the shade and brightness of dental tissues

  • Biocompatibility – restorative materials must not in any way injure or irritate the periodontium

  • Retention – the ability of the prosthetic work to resist forces that tend to loosen it

Prosthetic restorations with a metal substrate

Widely used in dental surgeries, especially in the past, materials based on alloys of different metals are known for their increased strength. They can be used for all-metal or mixed-metal prosthetic work. For mixed ones, the metal component provides the strength and will be lined by the physiognomic, aesthetic component represented by composite or ceramic.

The main disadvantage of metals is the aesthetic inconvenience. Most of the time, its color is not in line with the patient’s expectations so, more and more often, alternatives such as zirconium crowns are being used which offer increased esthetics and similar durability.

Another disadvantage of metals is that they can cause allergies, with local manifestations such as ulcers.

The use of ceramics in prosthetics

Ceramic-based prosthetics add aesthetics to dental arches through the variety of shades that mimic tooth structure in detail. Whether all-ceramic or metal-ceramic, the works are biocompatible with surrounding tissues and have a favorable long-term prognosis.

In prosthetics, ceramic works can be found in many forms:

Inlays: an aesthetic and durable alternative to composite resin fillings. In the case of an extensive caries process or a large pre-existing filling, the original morphology of the tooth can be obtained by applying an inlay, a prosthetic piece created with the help of the dental laboratory that faithfully reproduces the morphology and coloring of the tooth.

Veneers: if there are indications for restoration in the anterior area, veneers are the most aesthetic option. They allow the correction of unsightly situations by being bonded to the dental buccal surface, the one exposed in the smile.

Dental crowns: to make dental crowns, the practitioner must prepare the teeth according to certain principles. This creates the necessary space for the crowns to be placed in order to restore the natural appearance of the tooth.

Acrylic resins

Skeletal or total dentures are indicated in the case of the loss of a large number or all of the teeth on the dental arch and, in order to be well adapted and engaged, they will also replace part of the gum tissue. The gingival support of the dentures will be made of acrylic resins that closely mimic the natural color of the soft tissues.

There is a wide range of materials that can be used in indirect reconstructions, each with indications depending on the conditions found in the oral cavity and the goals of the prosthetic treatment.

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