Nanomaterials are commonly considered as those materials in which the shape and molecular composition at a nanometer scale can be controlled. Subsequently, they present extraordinary properties that are being useful for the development of new and improved applications in many fields, including medicine. In dentistry, several research efforts are being conducted, especially during the last decade, for the improvement of the properties of materials used in dentistry. The objective of the present article is to offer the audience a complete and comprehensive review of the main applications that have been developed in dentistry, by the use of these materials, during the last two decades. It was shown how these materials are improving the treatments in mainly all the important areas of dentistry, such as endodontics, periodontics, implants, tissue engineering and restorative dentistry. The scope of the present review is, subsequently, to revise the main applications regarding nano-shaped materials in dentistry, including nanorods, nanofibers, nanotubes, nanospheres/nanoparticles, and zeolites and other orders porous materials. The results of the bibliographic analysis show that the most explored nanomaterials in dentistry are graphene and carbon nanotubes, and their derivatives. A detailed analysis and a comparative study of their applications show that, although they are quite similar, graphene-based materials seem to be more promising for most of the applications of interest in dentistry. The bibliographic study also demonstrated the potential of zeolite-based materials, although the low number of studies on their applications shows that they have not been totally explored, as well as other porous nanomaterials that have found important applications in medicine, such as metal organic frameworks, have not been explored. Subsequently, it is expected that the research effort will concentrate on graphene and zeolite-based materials in the coming years. Thus, the present review paper presents a detailed bibliographic study, with more than 200 references, in order to briefly describe the main achievements that have been described in dentistry using nanomaterials, compare and analyze them in a critical way, with the aim of predicting the future challenges.
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