Facts on dental polymers

Written by brenda priddy
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Facts on dental polymers
Facts on Dental Polymers (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of ♥ellie♥)

Dental polymers are one of the main materials used in modern cosmetic and restorative dentistry. However, many people may not be aware of all of the facts surrounding dental polymers and the advantages and disadvantages they offer. It is important to have knowledge of dental polymers to make informed dental choices.

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Features

Dental polymers are dental fillings, tooth coverings, dentures, and any other bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate resins. Usually they are some form of plastic mixed with other materials to create a hard, tooth-like appearance that will last. Most dentists use some form of polymer for at least a few of their cosmetic dental procedures. There are several different types and brands of dental polymers, but the name comes from the fact that several different materials are mixed to create the fillings.

Function

The purpose behind dental polymers is to create replacement teeth, fillings and dentures with a material that is as hard as a real tooth; is resistant to stains and chipping; is long-lasting; and is a material that has the appearance of a real tooth. In the past, metal fillings or replacements were used which were not cosmetically pleasing and could sometimes cause metal poisoning in the body. Metal fillings also do not attach as well to existing teeth.

Materials

There are several different kinds of dental polymers, and each are created in a slightly different way. Composite polymers are created using a mixture of powdered glass and plastic resin. Resin ionomer cement is a dental polymer that uses a mixture of powdered glass and powdered resin along with organic acid. When exposed to a blue UV light, it hardens. This is used as a glue for fillings, crowns and other cosmetic procedures. A brand that specializes in the creation of dental polymers is Peek.

Benefits

There are many benefits in the use of dental polymers. Since the material is tooth colored, it is easier to make tooth problems appear nonexistent. There is also no danger of metal or mercury poisoning with polymers. Some polymers contain fluoride which help prevent tooth decay. Polymers are extremely durable and resistant to chipping or breaking. Patients are able to resume normal eating and biting habits. Dental polymers usually do not have to be replaced.

Warning

There are a few problems associated with the use of dental polymers as well. The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory conducted a series of tests on dental polymers and found that polymers shrink and leak over time. This can cause health problems. Some bacteria are able to grow inside polymers, which can cause damage to gums and teeth. Some dental polymers also contain crystalline silica, which was been found to cause cancer in a California study.

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