Basic Dental Materials

by John J Manappallil

A successful dentist has to combine technical skills along with clinical knowledge. Dental materials is the backbone of dentistry. Knowledge of dental materials is one of the keys to a successful dental practice. To the beginner, the task may appear formidable because of the wide array of materials available. This is quite normal and fortunately disappears with familiarity. Dental materials does not end with the first year of the graduate training program. It is required throughout the course and subsequently for a successful practice. The popularity of the second edition was encouraging. Revising the edition was a huge challenge. Dental materials is a vibrant subject as new products are constantly appearing in the market. The book has been entirely reorganized reflecting these changes. More color illustrations have been added to improve clarity. A few of the materials have been eliminated from the book or just briefly mentioned as they are no longer marketed. Knowledge of the history of dental materials is useful to understand how these materials evolved and why newer materials were developed. Over the past decade, the field of ceramics has seen vast improvements. The chapter on ceramics had to be entirely revamped to reflect the significant advances in technology. Actual values of the various materials have been presented wherever possible. Knowledge of values improve depth of understanding and is useful for making comparisons. However, one must remember that these values are not necessarily absolute, variations can occur between brands and methods of testing. Climatic differences affect properties like working and setting times. An open mind is essential for learning— especially one open to new ideas as well as criticism and suggestions. It is encouraging to see a lot of new Indian authored books in the market. Indian researchers have also been contributing considerably to international journals. Indian manufactured materials are also gaining international attention. This is a quantum jump considering that previously we had been importing knowledge as well as materials. Our research, journals and professionals are gradually being recognized and respected the world over. We cannot rest as constant improvements are still needed in our training programs in order to provide the best care to the patients as well as compete internationally. It is my fervent hope that every new generation of highly trained and motivated dentists will emerge upholding the dignity of the profession and the country.

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