Design and development of novel therapeutic strategies to regenerate lost tissue structure and function is a serious clinical hurdle for researchers. Traditionally, much of the research is dedicated in optimising properties of scaffolds. Current synthetic biomaterials remain rudimentary in comparison to their natural counterparts. The ability to incorporate biologically inspired elements into the design of synthetic materials has advanced with time. Recent reports suggest that functionally graded material mimicking the natural tissue morphology can have a more exaggerated response on the targeted tissue. The aim of this review is to deliver an overview of the functionally graded concept with respect to applications in clinical dentistry. A comprehensive understanding of spatiotemporal arrangement in fields of restorative, prosthodontics, periodontics, orthodontics and oral surgery is presented. Different processing techniques have been adapted to achieve such gradients ranging from additive manufacturing (three dimensional printing/rapid prototyping) to conventional techniques of freeze gelation, freeze drying, electrospinning and particulate leaching. The scope of employing additive manufacturing technique as a reliable and predictable tool for the design and accurate reproduction of biomimetic templates is vast by any measure. Further research in the materials used and refinement of the synthesis techniques will continue to expand the frontiers of functionally graded membrane based biomaterials application in the clinical domain.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.