Ceramic and Cement Systems

Course Type

Ceramics represent an important material class used in dentistry with unique mechanical, chemical and optical properties. However, their use is varied and demanding with multiple processing stages and cementation or adhesion of the final prosthesis to tooth structure.

This module will consider the various classes of ceramic systems from traditional feldspathic porcelain to pressable and milled materials, appropriate means of strengthening, and the use of polycrystalline ceramics with increased fracture toughness, aw well as their disadvantages. The module will also provide a detailed understanding of the structure-property relationships of cements and liners, either as a restorative material or for retention of laboratory processed dental prostheses, ranging from traditional zinc phosphate cements, to hydraulic silicates (for endodontics), ion-leachable glasses, and resin-based adhesives.

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the Phase Rule and interpret composition and phase diagrams in order to predict material constitution and therefore behaviour.
  • Critically appraise modern ceramic systems, including state-of-the-art digital processing and manufacturing technologies compared with traditional feldspathic porcelains.
  • Interpret phase transformation processes of polycrystalline zirconia and how these may provide beneficial or deleterious effects on material properties and success as a dental material.
  • Compare and contrast the chemistry of traditional and modern cements, liners and adhesives for tooth restoration, or fixation of laboratory processed dental prostheses, and how those chemistries influence key material properties.
  • Design and execute appropriate experiments for testing mechanical and physical material properties of cements and ceramics, interpret data, and output appropriate written descriptions and analysis.

The module will be assessed by:

1) a 1.5 hour structured, short answer written examination comprising a choice of 4 from 6 questions (50%). Each question has 4 parts, each with increasing difficulty. 

2) Experimental methods and data analysis assessment (25%) comprising a peer-mark for effort within the group (~2-3 members), the experimental protocol, and write-up (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion, Conclusions). 

3) Poster design, critical appraisal and presentation of a computer-aided processing technique (25%) 

An overall mark of 50% or above must be obtained to pass the module, with each individual assessment scoring not less than 40%.

Please note this module is only available as part of the MSc Dental Materials Science and the International Doctoral Training Programme.