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Ceramics and Polymers

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Dental ceramics are usually referred to as nonmetallic, inorganic structures primarily containing oxygen compounds with one or more metallic or semi-metallic elements. The laboratory process of ceramic restorations is usually made in a commercial dental laboratory by skilled technicians working with specialized equipment to shape and tint the restoration to the specifications provided by the dentist. Ceramics have two major applications in dentistry: first, ceramics for metal-ceramic crowns and fixed dental prostheses (FDPs), and all ceramic materials for crowns, inlays onlays, and veneers.

Polymers are the most diverse material because their unit structure is the molecule rather than the crystal. It is the interactions between polymer molecules that give polymers many of the properties we know: flexibility, moldability, and elastomeric (rubber-like) properties.

A benefit of combining two material classes is the ability to fabricate a new material that has desirable handling properties that are not achievable with one material alone. The use of a polymer alone will not achieve sufficient stiffness and stability, which are properties contributed by the ceramic particles.

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The Foundation of Modern Dentistry

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