Types of Materials Used in Esthetic Restorations

The demand for esthetics in dentistry has created an amazing variety of ceramic, composite and porcelain restorative materials that are available for dental restorations (Table 1). For instance, ceramic restorations are so natural looking that even the dental professional may need to carefully evaluate what they observe in the patient’s mouth. While ceramic restorations have a natural appearance and are pleasing esthetically, there are also limitations that must be considered when the restorations are placed. Ceramics are quite strong, but the occlusal forces of mastication, bruxism, etc. increase the risk of failure due to the brittle nature of the material.6 Evaluation of marginal and occlusal integrity of esthetic restorations is an integral part of the care dental hygienists should provide at each recare appointment.

Table 1. Restorative Materials Used in Esthetic Restorations.6,19,27
  • Glass-based and crystalline-based restorative material
  • Lucite, lithium disilicates, alumina-based and zirconia-based ceramics are most widely used
  • Resin restorative material categorized by particle sizes
  • Nanofilled contain the smallest particles and macrofilled contain the largest
  • Packable and flowable types are available
  • Made of ceramic fired at high temperatures
  • Restorations may be full porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM)

There are various types of restorations that the dental professional may observe in a typical day. They range from slightly radiopaque to completely radiopaque on a radiographic image. Figure 1 shows an example of the following restorations:

  • Tooth #13 exhibits a CEREC ceramic restoration comprised of lithium disilicate.
  • Tooth #14 has a PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal) restoration and gutta percha in the root canals from endodontic therapy.
  • Teeth #15, 18 and 19 have been restored with gold crowns and have smooth contours that follow the anatomical crown closely.
Figure 1.
ce468 fig01 various restorative
Various Types of Restorative.
Figure 2.
ce468 fig02 Intraoral
Intraoral photo of the maxillary restorations shown in Figure 1.
Images courtesy of Dr. Luke Iwata, Loma Linda, CA