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Organic chemistry: Polymers in dentistry and the tooth filling - Research Paper Example

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The term polymer is defined, as large molecules that consist of small chemical units called monomers linked together repetitively like a string of beads (Darvell, 2009). Usually, polymers are made up of more than five monomers, and the chain may consist up to thousands of…
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Organic chemistry: Polymers in dentistry and the tooth filling
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Download file to see previous pages The term amalgam refers to a mixture of metals and specifically means mercury alloy. A dental amalgam comprises of 50% mercury, 30% silver and other elements such as copper, zinc and tin in smaller percentages (Geier et al., 2012a). For the last sixteen decades, amalgam has had a large role in dentistry industry for filling teeth (Geier et al., 2013). An amalgam is so strong that it can withstand the pressure exerted by the molar during chewing and crunching process. In making amalgam, silver, copper, tin and zinc are dissolved in liquid mercury.
In the amalgamation process, copper, silver, zinc and tin are mixed with liquid mercury either on an amalgamation table or amalgamation drum, where mercury bonds with the other metals to form mercury amalgam. The metals need to be ground to powder form fine enough to increase the exposure surface area of the metal to the mercury. The preferred mesh is between 100 and 325. Water is added to the metal mixture to help in the dispersion of the ore and promotion of a better metal to the interface of mercury.
Synthetic polymers are the ones that are used in dentistry. Synthetic polymers are prepared either via addition or step-growth polymerization process. In addition, polymerization monomers that contain double bond join to form a polymer. The double bond in the monomer offers the active center where the process starts. During the process, the π-bond present in the monomer is changed to σ-bond in the polymer molecule. Monomer addition to the end of the developing chain is a fast and exothermic process. Addition polymerization can be anionic, cationic or free radical polymerization (Shalaby & Salz, 2006).
Step-growth polymerization involves monomers containing different functional groups. The process occurs by via the reaction of functional groups in a conventional manner. In this type of polymerization, a minimum of two ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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