Use of ceramics and polymers continues to dominate clinical procedures in modern dentistry. Polymers have provided the basis for adhesives, tissue void fillers, and artificial replacements for whole teeth. They have been remarkably effective in the clinic at restoration of major dental functions after damage or loss of teeth. With the rapid development of polymer science, dental materials science has significantly lagged behind in harnessing these advanced polymer products. What they offer is new and unique properties superior to traditional polymers and crucially a range of properties that more closely match natural biomaterials. Therefore, we should pursue more vigorously the benefits of advanced polymers in dentistry. In this review, we highlight how the latest generation of advanced polymers will enhance the application of materials in the dental clinic using numerous promising examples. Polymers have a broad range of applications in modern dentistry. Some major applications are to construct frameworks that mimic the precise structure of tissues, to restore tooth organ function, and to deliver bioactive agents to influence cell behavior from the inside. The future of polymers in dentistry must include all these new enhancements to increase biological and clinical effectiveness beyond what can be achieved with traditional biomaterials.
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© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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