The Dental Materials Section of the Department of Restorative Dentistry was established in 1972, with Paul Binon, DDS as the first Section Leader. Carl W. Fairhurst, PhD, was appointed Coordinator of Dental Materials in 1973, and under his leadership, a period of rapid section growth began. The initial research areas were porcelain-fused-to-metal and amalgam. In recent years, metal-ceramics, polymers, and biocompatibility have become the main focus of research. Dr. Fred Rueggeberg, DDS was appointed Section Director within the Department of Oral Rehabilitation in 1995. His leadership resulted in several publications and international recognition of the section in the fields of light-curing, polymerization, and adhesive dentistry. Dr. Pacheco, DDS, MSc, PhD was appointed section director in the Department of Restorative Sciences in 2023.
The section consists of two full-time faculty members, two part-time faculty members, and one secretarial staff member. Teaching responsibilities include a wide range of topics for dental and dental hygiene programs, graduate specialty programs, and mentorship in materials research for Master's and Doctoral degrees awarded by the Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences. The group is also focused on active participation in a wide range of continuing education courses and faculty development.