What are prosthetic teeth made of

The basis for good dentures is a carefully selected material. Nowadays there is a huge selection of plastics, metal alloys and ceramics. We present the most important ones to you here.

Which material is the right one in each individual case depends on many factors: where in the dentition it is used, which dentures are needed or what special wishes the patient has. What they all have in common, however, is that they must have a high degree of resilience, breaking strength and biocompatibility. In addition, they should be durable and ensure an aesthetically convincing result - a lot of demands that inevitably reach their limits in some areas. Regardless of the different types of dentures, we present the most important materials that dental technicians and dentists use in their practice.

Metals for dentures

Extremely pure metals do not occur in nature. They usually contain components of other types of metal and accordingly have different physical properties. Such changes are used in material development and different metals are mixed in a targeted manner in order to obtain particularly strong, stable or low-corrosion materials.

Such metal combinations, also known as alloys, have been a guarantee for durable, well-tolerated dentures for decades. The well-known gold tooth is not made of pure gold either - this would be much too soft and would be deformed and worn off in a very short time. The search for the "perfect mix" is far from over; there are currently 700 different alloys for dental bridges and crowns alone. The focus is always on certain material properties that must be observed in the dental sector:

  • Larger amounts of metal must not be washed out by the partially acidic saliva
  • Highly allergenic metals should only make up a minimal proportion, if at all
  • Toxic or health-endangering effects must be excluded
  • The creation of unpleasant currents due to metal interactions should be prevented

Despite all these precautionary measures, each person reacts individually to these alloys, so no one can guarantee that they will be 100% free of complications.

amalgam: Hardly any other material has caused as much turbulence as the amalgam filling material in recent years.
gold: More than 1,000 years ago, people were already using gold leaf to repair defects in their teeth.
titanium: Titanium is a shiny white metal that is extremely strong and resistant to corrosion.

Other metals in standard alloys:

palladium: Hard white precious metal that is found in around 90 percent of all dental alloys.
titanium: Titanium is a material that is difficult to process in dental technology and is therefore mainly processed using the CAD / CAM process.
silver
: Shiny white metal that makes alloys more hard.
copper
: Reddish metal that occurs with some alloys with a proportion of more than 10 percent.
platinum
: A very expensive off-white precious metal with properties similar to gold. In dental alloys, it increases the strength of the material.

Metals in non-precious alloys:

Non-precious metal alloys (NEM) are characterized by their low price. Although they are harder and stronger than the precious metal variants, they can corrode more easily. In addition, some metals used trigger allergies in a certain proportion of patients. Important alloys are the combination of cobalt, chromium and molybdenum, as well as a mixture of nickel and chromium.
Furthermore, iron alloys are also used in the orthodontic sector, which also contain chromium and nickel.

Plastics: Since the 1930s, plastics have become increasingly important in dentistry. In addition to the amalgam filling, with which around 40 percent of all caries defects have been restored to date, the plastic filling is being used more and more now.
Composites: Filling materials are called composites that essentially contain two important components: a "liquid" plastic that hardens under UV light and the so-called filler, i.e. tiny glass ceramic particles that provide a tooth-like coloration.
Compomers
: Compomers are a special type of composite. In addition to the usual composite components, they also contain glass ionomer cement.

Other denture materials

cement: Cement is only used as a temporary filling or as an underfill to protect the dental pulp.
Glass ionomer cement: Glass ionomer cement is a special cement that is also used for fillings and fixings.
Ceramics: Ceramic is probably the most important material in dentistry in order to be able to offer dentures that are as natural as possible.
Silicate ceramics
: Because of their high glass content, they are also known as glass ceramics. They consist of the natural minerals feldspar, quartz and kaolin.
Oxide ceramics
: Oxide ceramics are usually simple forms of oxidation of very base metals. These include magnesium, aluminum, titanium or zirconium oxide.
Zirconium oxide
: Zirconium oxide or, as it should be called chemically correctly, zirconium dioxide occupies a special position among oxide ceramics.

Important feature: BIOCOMPATIBILITY!

Some materials are known to alarm the immune system in many people. Many jewelry wearers are allergic to the metal nickel. Other metals, but also certain plastics, ceramics and solids, on the other hand, are not recognized by our body's defense system. The introduced material is treated like an endogenous structure - in the best case, certain cell types interact with the foreign body and stabilize it in the bone tissue, for example. The term compatibility means: an artificial material and biological tissue can be brought together without any problems and together form a functioning unit.