Periodontal diseases involve injuries to the supporting structures of the tooth and, if left untreated, can lead to the loss of the tooth. Regenerative periodontal therapies aim, ideally, at healing all the damaged periodontal tissues and represent a significant clinical and societal challenge for the current ageing population. This review provides a picture of the currently-used biomaterials for periodontal regeneration, including natural and synthetic polymers, bioceramics (e.g., calcium phosphates and bioactive glasses), and composites. Bioactive materials aim at promoting the regeneration of new healthy tissue. Polymers are often used as barrier materials in guided tissue regeneration strategies and are suitable both to exclude epithelial down-growth and to allow periodontal ligament and alveolar bone cells to repopulate the defect. The problems related to the barrier postoperative collapse can be solved by using a combination of polymeric membranes and grafting materials. Advantages and drawbacks associated with the incorporation of growth factors and nanomaterials in periodontal scaffolds are also discussed, along with the development of multifunctional and multilayer implants. Tissue-engineering strategies based on functionally-graded scaffolds are expected to play an ever-increasing role in the management of periodontal defects.
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