The Changing Face of Dental Materials

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI


Dentists in their training have always been challenged to stay abreast of changes in methods and materials that are available to help them restore their patients back to form and function. Esthetics, too, has always been a concern for our patients. Practitioners must always be careful to separate hype from scientific data that guides our decisions. The marketplace changes so quickly and companies are constantly trying to educate us with the next best product that is β€œthe up and coming thing.”

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Evaluating dental literature in a peer-reviewed journal helps us to separate hype and marketing from clearly assess dental materials. As the staff of Spring Lake Dental Group convenes for our monthly training sessions in our education center on the second floor, I have always reassured them that I have thoroughly evaluated a product before training them on its indications, contradictions and use. We may not be the first user on the block, but always try to use good judgment in adopting new techniques and materials in order to stay current.

But within the last decade, newer dental materials in the field of prosthodontics have surfaced and shown great promise in replacing lost tooth structure. Zirconium Dioxide is a monolithic (solid) material that can be used in crowns, bridges and implant restorations. It is tooth colored but unlike past ceramics (glass) we have used in our restorations, it is metal. You can find it on the periodic table as a metal and thus the difference. Porcelains used previously are glasses that have a certain brittleness to them that limit their use in functional on occlusal areas. Our Dentists at Spring Lake Dental Group have looked at the literature supporting the use of Zirconium and agree that there are some stark advantages to using this material.

In my next blog, I am going to present the evidence for why we are treatment planning this material for the benefit of our patients. It is not panacea, but, like any new material, needs to be treatment planned correctly. But suffice it to say that Zirconia restorations can withstand the rigors of the mouth and can also be extremely esthetic. Speak to your dentists about the materials and techniques that he or she is choosing for you. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, have the most current technology and materials, allowing you to benefit with a beautiful and long-lasting smile.