The Dental Materials Section of the Department of Restorative Dentistry was initially formed in 1972 with Paul Binon, DDS as the first Section Leader. In 1973, Carl W. Fairhurst, PhD., was appointed as Coordinator of Dental Materials, and under his leadership, a period of rapid section growth was initiated. Porcelain-fused-to-metal and amalgam were the important initial research areas. More recently, metal-ceramics, polymers, and biocompatibility have become focus areas for research efforts. In 1995, Dr. Fred Rueggeberg was appointed Section Director within the Department of Oral Rehabilitation.
There are two full-time faculty, one full-time research assistant, and one secretarial staff member in the section. Teaching responsibilities include a wide range of topics for undergraduate and graduate specialty students as well as mentorship in materials research areas for Master's and Doctoral degrees awarded under the Department of Oral Biology. Active participation in a wide variety of continuing education courses is also a focus of the group.