A composite is a term that refers to a material that is made up of pebble-like, hard, filler particles enclosed by a hard matrix of another type of material that binds all the filler particles to one another. Filler particles have the ability to be of nearly any coarseness, including fine powders to large rocks. They can also be of various shapes, including flakes, fibers, and spheres. The material used for the matrix usually begins as a liquid, powder, or paste and starts hardening when it’s activated by adding water or a solvent or a catalyst that lets a chemical reaction occur.
Before hardening, a composite may be pressed into a hole or into a mold. While composites are important in everyday life, for example, concrete is a very popularly used composite, composites are also used within the dental industry as well. The material often referred to as a composite within the dental industry includes an acrylic matrix known as BIS-GMA that is mixed with finely ground quartz or glass particle fillers. When a catalyst is added, the acrylic hardens, much in the same way that fiberglass hardens. With composites that are light cured, a catalyst is mixed into the paste, yet a strong light is needed to activate the catalyst. Filler particles must be coated using a silane-coupling agent to make sure that the matrix and the filler bond completely.
The Dental Amalgam
Another type of composite used in the dental field is dental amalgam, although it’s not often referred to as a composite. It’s made with mercury and very finely ground tin or silver metal powder. Dental cements are also composites that are made from various liquids and powders that are mixed together. The powder particles are partially dissolved by the liquid, creating a matrix that becomes hard enough to cement posts and crowns. While porcelain, which is used in the dental field, is not often considered a composite material, it is actually made up of crystalline particles and a glass matrix.
Within the dental field, composites are used as adhesives and as restorative materials. Whether you require dental restorations or other dental work, talk to your dentist about how composites may be used to improve your smile. We at Gulf Coast Endodontics are your Houston root canal specialists. We use the best quality composites for your root canal in Houston. Contact us for more information, today.