Scanning Microscopy


Restorative dental materials include the materials used to repair damaged teeth and/or replace missing teeth. The definition could be extended to include a much broader group of dental materials, but this paper concentrates only on those materials used to restore the crown portion of damaged teeth. Auxiliary materials, materials for removable denture prostheses, and root canal materials are excluded. Progress and recent research utilizing SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy), and some related methods are presented for the following dental materials: dental amalgam, enamel and dentin bonding agents, dental composites, dental cements, casting alloys for crowns and bridges, and ceramic-metal and ceramic restorative materials. In addition to the basic characterization of these materials by SEM/EDS techniques, examples of replication methods for SEM study of restorative materials in situ are discussed. Some examples are also presented in the direct use of SEM/EDS for characterization of changes and degradation of restorative materials which occur during clinical use.

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