Outside-the-(cavity-prep)-box thinking

Adv Dent Res. 2013 Nov;25(1):24-32. doi: 10.1177/0022034513502207.


Direct placement restorative materials must interface with tooth structures that are often compromised by caries or trauma. The material must seal the interface while providing sufficient strength and wear resistance to assure function of the tooth for, ideally, the lifetime of the patient. Needed are direct restorative materials that are less technique-sensitive than current resin-based composite systems while having improved properties. The ideal material could be successfully used in areas of the world with limited infrastructure. Advances in our understanding of the interface between the restoration adhesive system and the stages of carious dentin can be used to promote remineralization. Application of fracture mechanics to adhesion at the tooth-restoration interface can provide insights for improvement. Research in polymer systems suggests alternatives to current composite resin matrix systems to overcome technique sensitivity, while advances in nano- and mesoparticle reinforcement and alignment in composite systems can increase material strength, toughness, and wear resistance, foreshadowing dental application.

Keywords: aligned composites; biomimetics; cross-link density; dentin bonding; nanocomposites; remineralization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Materials*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanocomposites
  • Tooth Fractures
  • Tooth Remineralization


  • Dental Materials