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Experiments In Natural And Synthetic Dental Materials A Mouthful Of Experiments

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.211.1 - 1.211.11



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James V. Masi

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Session 1664

Experiments in Natural and Synthetic Dental Materials A Mouthful of Experiments

James V. Masi, Western New England College, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Springfield,MA01119

, Key Words: Biomaterials, dental, corrosion, composite, amalgam. Prerequisite Knowledge: The student should be familiar with the basics of materials science, metallography, and chemistry. Levels at which these experiments are performed are second semester junior year and either semester senior year. The students are first given lectures on fracture mechanics, metals, alloys, and composites. They should have already had a laboratory experiment on metallography and sample preparation. A video on the deterioration of restorative materials in the oral environment is used as a backdrop for the experiments.

Objectives The objectives of these experiments are to show that the area of biomaterials, especially dental materials (natural and synthetic), contain all of the elements of good and bad design, with the caveat that a person’s health is directly involved. The students learn the process of designing materials for the complex interactions in the oral cavity, analyze those already used, and suggest possible solutions to the problems involved with present technology. The N.I.O.S.H. Handbook is used by the students and judgments are made, even without extensive biology education.

Equipment and Supplies

(1) Metallurgical preparation and polishing apparatus (eg. Buehler Co.), (2) Amalgam triturated samples (Johnson& Johnson, Inc., Degussa Chemical, etc.), (3) Titanium, gold crowns, graphite, and stainless steel (316L) posts and fixtures (J. & J.), (4) Teeth with amalgam, ceramic, and composite restorations (heal dentists), (5) Selenium oxychloride (Hg stain from Fisher Scientific.), (6) Metallurgical microscope (Olympus, Zeiss, etc.), and (7) SEM with EDAX (optional). I Introduction

There are few materials which capture the essence of materials science as dental materials and the amazing, adaptive natural dental materials. In the same vein, these materials are all subject to the same mechanical, electrical, chemical, and biological laws as all other materials. Certain of these synthetic materials are now deemed potentially harmful in the human bio-system. Newer materials have shown promise of solving the restoration problem. At Western New England College, two senior projects and some extensive research have led to the development of a two-part experiment involving natural and synthetic materials such as actual previously extracted teeth, amalgam filled teeth, stainless steel orthodonture material, gold alloy crowns, composite restoration material, titanium implants, and graphite endodontics posts. Tests involving corrosion couples, sectioning and rnicroscopic investigation of alloys and composites, and bond strength of polymer adhesives.

The problem of restoration of carious regions, the materials used, and the associated appliances employed in orthodonture and implantology provide a complex electrochemical scenario to be sorted out by the practitioner and patient alike. Add to this the fact that many scientists cannot even agree on the cause/effect relationships associated with pathologies resulting from the release of \

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Masi, J. V. (1996, June), Experiments In Natural And Synthetic Dental Materials A Mouthful Of Experiments Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6050

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