Dental restorations are materials or prosthetics used to restore the function of missing or damaged tooth structure, or to improve the appearance of the teeth. They include dental implants, crowns, bridges, fillings, inlays, onlays, obturators, and dentures.
Since dental restorations are worn or placed in the mouth for long periods of time, some of them permanently, it is important and worthwhile to know what substances and materials these restorations are made from. Although the dental restorations used in professional dentistry are FDA-approved, there is always the possibility of someone having an adverse reaction to the substances contained in them. Knowing what dental restorations are made of can help you make informed decisions about what you introduce into your body.
Metal is used in a number of dental restorations including crowns, dentures, bridges, fillings, and implants. Silver-colored almalgam fillings are made from an alloy of mercury and various other metals including silver and tin. Metals is also used in dental crowns; the abutments and little screws and posts that are used to attach the crown to the jawbone are usually made from pure titanium or an alloy of this metal. Most dentures have metal clips and dental bridges can be made from cobalt chrome or gold alloys.
In the past few decades, dental restorations made from composite materials have been developed as an alternative to the earlier, metal prototypes. Dental restorations that are made of, or contain, composite materials include veneers, fillings, onlays, inlays, and dentures. The composites are typically acrylic-based and contain other substances like synthetic (plastic) resins and powdered glass.
Ceramics are used to make veneers, crowns, implants, onlays and inlays. The ceramics contain substances like lithium disilicate, feldspathic glass, fluorapatite crystals, and zirconia. Types of ceramics used in dental restorations include glass-ceramics and porcelain. Ceramic restorations are valued for their ability to mimic the look of natural enamel.
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