Dental Material Glossary of Terms

General Descriptions: A brief statement of the composition and behavior of dental material.

Principal Uses: The type of restorations created from the specific material.

Resistance to Further Decay: The ability of the restoration material to preventing decay.

Longevity/Durability: The average of length of time needed before the material requires replacement. This depends on various factors, such as your diet, bite strength, oral hygiene, etc.

Conservation of Tooth Structure: A traditional measure of the amount of tooth that needs to be removed to place and retain the material.

Surface Wear/Fracture Resistance: A measure of the ability of the material to hold up over time through constant biting, grinding, and clenching forces.

Marginal Integrity (Leakage): The ability of the material to seal the interface between the restoration and tooth, preventing sensitivity and new decay.

Resistance to Occlusal Stress: The material’s ability to remain durable through heavy biting forces over time.

Biocompatibility: The effects on the overall general health of the patient.

Allergic or Adverse Reactions, Possible systemic or localized reactions of the skin, gums, and other tissues.

Toxicity: The material’s ability to affect normal physiological processes beyond the mouth.

Susceptibility to Sensitivity: The probability that the restored teeth may be sensitive to stimuli (heat, cold, sweets, pressure) after the placement of the material.

Esthetics: The degree to which the material replicates the appearance of natural teeth.

Frequency of Repair or Replacement: The expected longevity of the restoration created from the material.

Relative Cost: An indication of the amount one would pay for a restoration created from this material compared to others.

Number of visits required: The amount of times a patient would have to visit the dentist’s office to get the restoration created from this material.

Dental Amalgam: The filling material which is created from mercury and small percentages of silver, tin, and copper.

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