The oldest kind of tooth filling is a filling made of dental silicate cements (first generation cements). To ensure such a filling would remain as long as possible, it was necessary to keep the highest possible accuracy during its preparation - poorly-made cement could get destroyed even under the influence of saliva. And a tooth was supposed to be filled again. An average term of the life of a "correct" cement filling was 2-3 years, sometimes more. And what can we say about its cosmetic effect? Silicate cement absorbs food dyes well. Furthermore cement gets yellow after the lapse of time.
Silicate cement marked the beginning of the history of dental materials. Next fillings in the history of dental materials were made of dental acrylic plastics. These fillings had a bad reputation as their usage often led to multiple complications in the form of various pulpitis and periodontitis. Difficulties of polishing didn't allow getting a good cosmetic effect - a soft plastic melts easily and it is very hard to achieve a smooth surface. Amalgam fillings have proved to be very good. If keep to a correct technique, these fillings remained 10-15 years or even more. One of disadvantages of these fillings is a content of some mercury and in our time such fillings are prohibited in many countries.
The next stage in the history of dental materials was the appearance of composite fillings. They have been used since sixties. Composite materials are solid enough and remain for a long time. Their disadvantage is unfortunate colorings and thus low esthetic properties. However, recently there have appeared quite worthy representatives of this group with improved properties. Cement fillings didn't disappear though. This technology presents new generation cements that have a wide range of positive properties - high solidity, durability and resistance to various influences. As a matter of fact, they don't have anything in common with first generation dental cements, but name.
Dental porcelain is one of the best dental techniques which allow achieving very good esthetic results. In our time porcelain is considered the best and harmless dental material used for tooth restoration. Owing to its physical properties it is very close to the tooth enamel. Porcelain doesn't cause allergic reactions, it doesn't absorb moist and doesn't change its color. In dental laboratories porcelain undergoes 3-4 firings with layer-by-layer coating that increases a probability of chipping.
The history of dental porcelain didn't know a material similar to porcelain by CEREC. It undergoes only one firing and it is not as rigid as other porcelains. It is very convenient for prosthesis, being polished and glazed well. One of the biggest advantages is its cosmetic effect. Careful choosing a porcelain color to match with one's tooth color can achieve a superb cosmetic effect.
As we can see the history of dental composite is a long one, but very good and durable fillings have been recently created. The history of dental materials at this site might be interesting for dental students.