Inside Dentistry eBook

Understanding the Mechanics of Ceramics

How physical properties affect strength and esthetics

By Gregg A. Helvey, DDS, MAGD

December 5, 2014


  • Fillers keep the balance between strong mechanics and beautiful esthetics
  • Density and structure have a big impact on a material’s indication
  • Some factors that affect esthetics are in your control—and others aren’t
  • Large values of fracture toughness do not mean materials are invulnerable

As both a dentist and a laboratory technician, Dr. Gregg A. Helvey has a unique perspective on dental materials. In “Understanding the Mechanics of Ceramics,” he helps dentists understand not just which material is best for a clinical situation, but why. This overview of the properties that determine a material’s strength and beauty demystifies the indications and advantages of the main classes of ceramics.

About the Author

Dr. Helvey is in private practice in Middleburg, Virginia. He is an adjunct associate professor at the VCU School of Dentistry and teaches cosmetic dentistry with an emphasis on laminate veneers in the AEGD residency program. He is also a laboratory technician, which has aided in the development of his laminate veneer techniques. He serves on the editorial boards of Practical Procedures and Aesthetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry, and Functional Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry, and he has published peer‐reviewed articles in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Practical Procedures and Aesthetic Dentistry, Compendium, and others on clinical and laboratory techniques. He has lectured nationally and internationally to dentists and dental technicians.

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