I know the class on dental materials was not the most exciting. Stress/strain curves did not exactly get my adrenaline pumping, and I was more than thankful that we were on the quarter system, capping the experience to only 10 weeks of misery. Of course, as soon as I got out of school into the real world, those lessons became indispensable. You end up at a dental convention, and you have hundreds of manufacturers are telling you that their product is best. If they really have their stuff together, they throw a bunch of research at you. I'm thankful to be able to read that research, and intelligently make a good decision about the product I am buying, and how it may impact clinical decisions. On this blog, you will often find links to various studies for that reason alone as we try to up the bar on what we do everyday. Its where Dentalcompare got the catch phrase "Top Products, Best Practices."
For example, take this recent study comparing carbon fiber endodontic posts and zirconia ceramic posts. They compared the strength of the posts via a static strain test in single rooted teeth. The setup is simple: glue the posts into similar maxillary central incisors with the same cement and core build-up materials. Next: See how much force it takes to break them. Unlike the laughabley vague study on BPA in composites causing our kids to go crazy, the design of this experiment is simple, basic science, and completely clinically relevant. In this case, they demonstrated that carbon fiber posts have slightly greater flexibility, but failed at a rate that led the authors to conclude they could not recommend using carbon fiber in single rooted teeth. This is important research for that patient who has a tooth snapped off at the gum line, who may not be ready or able to have an implant placed.
So thank you Dr. Angelo Caputo for everything we learned. I may not have appreciated it at the time, but my patients and my practice does now.