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Dental Materials: Overview

The field of dentistry and periodontics is increasingly turning to advanced materials to increase the longevity and structural integrity of implants, speed up production, decrease risks related to adverse reactions, and ultimately improve patient experience. Biocompatibility is the foremost concern, but many other improvements to protheseis composition and fabrication methods are under current development.

Implants and Prosthetics

Dental alloy slugs

Metals & Alloys

Dental implants are commonly made of high purity or commercially pure (CP) titanium, a metal that is notable for its strength, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. Such implants are permanently anchored to the jawbone and used to hold false teeth or crowns in place.


Ceramics materials including porcelain, zirconia, and various glass-ceramics are commonly used to produce dental prostheses. Dental porcelain has long been used to produce crowns, bridges and veneers for dental prostheses.

Computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) dentistry is used to improve the design and production of dental restorations. CAD/CAM systems start with a machinable ceramic or a pressable block often consisting of a glass based material, whereas die-processed (or compression treated) restorations consist of crystalline systems such as alumina or zirconia.

Restorative Materials


Silver Amalgam

Silver alloys such as silver-gold, silver-copper, silver-tin are routinely used in dental amalgams to fill cavities formed by tooth decay or broken teeth. Most often dental amalgam is a self-hardening mixture of silver-tin-copper alloy powder and liquid mercury. Increasingly, amalgam based fillings are being replaced by ceramic composite materials that are free of toxic mercury.


99.999% Gold FoilGold foil is used in dental restorations and is preferred by some patients due to its resistance to oxidation, longevity and minimal gap formation from the tooth. Gold alloys are the most common application of gold for dental inlays, crowns and bridges. These alloys include gold and the noble metals platinum, palladium, or silver with copper and zinc. The alloy is valued for its corrosion resistance, durability, and strength.

Silver Palladium

Silver-palladium is another alloy sometimes mixed with copper and zinc for dental inlays, crowns and bridges.

Dental Composites

Composite resins that can be made to match the color of the tooth are increasingly popular materials for dental fillings. At their most basic, these composites consist of an organic resin and an inorganic filler such as silica, but they can contain filler materials that allow the composite to be differentiated from other materials on x-ray images. The development of one such contrast agent is discussed in our case study.


A number of cements composed of ceramic materials are used in dental restorations. Zinc oxide and zinc phosphate are often used as cement or filling materials in dentistry. These compounds possess good bonding strength with dental restorations materials and teeth. Another cement used in dentristry is conventional glass ionomer cements containing fluoroaluminosilicate, the glass component. Resin modified glass ionomer cements are a mix of conventional ionomer cements activated with HEMA monomers and photoinitiators.

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American Elements manufactures a comprehensive array of high purity and ultra high purity advanced ceramics, chemicals, metals, and alloys for dental and endodontic applications including implants and prostheses, impression materials, and others. Titanium CP (Commercially Pure) is offered in four types: CP-1 GR 4, CP-2 GR 3, CP-3 GR 2, and CP-4 GR1. We can custom manufacture materials to customer specifications for shape, size, purity, composition in all amounts including bulk quantities.