Private Lecturer, Dr. med. dent. Michael J. Wicht
To this day, industry and science remain eager to develop materials that can compete effectively as an alternative to amalgam in terms of their cost-effectiveness and longevity. The most important properties the materials need to have, similar to those of amalgam, are safety and fast application with comparatively low toxicity and lower loss of substance resulting from cavity shaping requirements. Patients want a long-lasting, tooth-colored and cost-effective restorations that entail minimum loss of the tooth substance and are biologically harmless. Glass ionomer cements, compomers and ormocers were potential substitutes for amalgam, but failed to meet one or more of the required quality parameters. In the end it was composites that were accepted in the market that can be processed directly, adding to an almost bewildering number of restorative materials and adhesive systems. Thanks to advances in technology, it is now possible to develop very easy-toprocess, low-technique-sensitive filling materials that at least come close to amalgam fillings in terms of treatment time.