That's a very interesting question.
There were materialists in the Buddha's day. They were referred to as Carvakas. Their doctrine was very similar to their materialist counterparts in Ancient Greece - that the only thing that was real were material atoms, which were formed by natural forces into people, objects, and everything else. When the body died, there was no rebirth or next life, the elements simply returned to their earlier forms. The Carvakas are generally only know by way of polemics written against them, although I recall that their main supporters were (interestingly) the emerging merchant classes. There is a legendary figure in the Pali suttas called Prince Payasi who is a determined materialistic sceptic.
There are some interesting discussions of the early debates about the existence of atoms in McEvilly's The Shape of Ancient Thought. They are very detailed arguments, but one of the Buddhist arguments against atoms was that, if they truly were indivisible points, then they would have no dimension, and there was no way anything could come into contact with them (because, i.e., they wouldn't have a side or any kind of surface).
I think the abhidhamma concept of dhammas is not of existing material entities, but of moments of experience. The abhidhamma methodology analyzes everything in terms of the skandhas, within which material entities are generally classified as in the realm of name and form (nama-rupa). Nevertheless, there were some early Buddhist forms of atomism. In fact when I did my one Goenka retreat, I was interested to notice that Goenka referred to kalapa as being the equivalent of atoms, except for apart from being minute in space, they are also momentary in time; they are not 'enduring substances' which would be impossible to accomodate in the Buddhist framework but arise and perish in very rapid succession. He said something along the lines that the Buddha was able to perceive these 'kalapas' and that their existence has subsequently been 'confirmed by science' (although I must admit I took the latter with the proverbial grain of salt).
If you google 'Buddhist Atomism' there is quite a good essay out there by Piya Tan.
As for a discussion of the modern, i.e. quantum physical, interpretation of matter, and Buddhism, have a look at The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan.
He that knows it, knows it not.