dental02.jpg (11342 bytes)Fundamentals of
Dental Materials

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Restorative Materials

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a. Advantages. Amalgam has many advantages over other materials as a restorative material. Amalgam is used more than any other material to restore carious teeth. It is easy to insert into the cavity preparation and adapts readily to cavity walls. In obtaining its initial set, or hardness, amalgam allows time for condensing and carving. It has an acceptable crushing strength and is recognized as having a long life as a restoration. As an amalgam restoration ages in the oral cavity, corrosion products form along the restoration-tooth interface. These compounds act as a mechanical block to microleakage and account for the excellent clinical results obtained with silver amalgam.

b. Disadvantages. Amalgam has many disadvantages as a restorative material. Because amalgam's color does not match the color of the teeth, it is generally not used on the visible surfaces of anterior teeth. Amalgam will tarnish with time, no matter how well the amalgam restoration is prepared and inserted. To avoid or to reduce tarnish, the restoration is smoothed and highly polished a day or two after its insertion. The restoration may be reshined later at any time with little effort. Amalgam will also conduct heat or cold readily (high thermal conductivity). If the amalgam is placed too close to the pulp, it may irritate the pulp. Therefore, an intermediate base that will not conduct heat or cold as readily (low thermal conductivity) is placed under the amalgam.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: May 22, 2017