How Can Biomimetic Dentistry Save Teeth and Prevent the Tooth Cycle of Death?
Category: Biomimetic Dentistry,
The three major objectives or “pillars” of biomimetic dentistry are to:
- Mimic the properties and structure of natural teeth
- Preserve tooth vitality and healthy intact tooth structure
- Restore the strength and biomechanics of natural teeth.
Through these objectives, biomimetic restorative dentistry improves upon the shortcomings and limitations of traditional dentistry and non-bonded restorations.
The Power of Adhesion
A critical component to the success of Biomimetic Dentistry is the power of strong adhesion. In the biomimetic approach, adhesion eliminates the need to remove healthy and intact tooth structure. Biomimetic restorations build and restore teeth without the preparation and reduction requirements of traditional, mechanically retained restorations. Preserving more tooth structure when restoring teeth is the key to retaining teeth for life and preventing loss of teeth. Additionally, adhesion allows many teeth to be restored which would not have traditionally been considered possible by traditional dentistry standards. Through the power of adhesion, biomimetic dentistry preserves maximum tooth structure, preserves tooth vitality, and has a huge impact on the long-term survival and success of restored teeth.
Biomimetic Dentistry Mimics Natural teeth
The natural tooth consists of enamel and dentin that is adhesively joined via the dentin-enamel junction (DEJ). In the biomimetic approach, dental materials and adhesive techniques are combined to best mimic the structure and function of intact normal teeth. A strong adhesive interface allows stresses to transmit through the restored tooth naturally, similar to an intact tooth. Biomimetic dentistry restores the structural integrity of the teeth treated, and thereby prevents cracks, symptoms, complications, and failures. All of this is in favor of maximizing long-term success and preventing loss of teeth.
Traditional Dentistry is Inadequate
Traditionally, dental procedures such as fillings and crowns are inadequate because they do not restore the properties and function of natural teeth. These types of restorations lead to further complications and loss of teeth because they treat the problem without restoring the strength and structural integrity of an intact tooth. A lot of dentistry today is expected to have a relatively short and finite useful life and need servicing or replacement periodically. This is especially true of dental insurance models which do not compensate adequately for high-quality restorations. This sets the expectation of a short useful life as being considered adequate. Typical insurance policies provide coverage for replacement of “basic” fillings every 2 years and major procedures such as crowns every 5-7 years, so the system is in favor of short restoration longevity. On the surface, that seems generous to allow for adequate coverage for patients and dentists, but in reality this sets the precedent for the expectation of quality and longevity of dental restorations and the cascade of complications over the lifetime of the restored tooth.
A Better Way to Restore and Preserve Teeth
Preventing cavities and dental treatment is the primary goal of dentistry. Once a cavity is discovered, it becomes of paramount importance to provide the longest lasting, most conservative restoration possible. Inadequately addressing the structural integrity of restored teeth will lead to complications and failures, ultimately resulting in loss of teeth through the tooth cycle of death. With traditional dental procedures, the first intervention sets the cycle into motion. Fillings become crowns, crowns lead to root canals, and ultimately the tooth is lost when there is not enough structure left to restore the tooth. This process is known as the tooth cycle of death and it is very common.
Better for Patients, Better for Dentists
The prime beneficiary of the advancement of biomimetic dentistry is the patient, who can avoid additional treatments, minimize overall treatment cost, and have the best possible outcome by retaining their teeth for life. Tooth loss is a major fear for most patients and biomimetic dentistry is able to minimize this occurrence. Additionally, many teeth considered unrestorable can still be restored with a fair prognosis when utilizing a biomimetic approach. Effectively, biomimetic dentistry can avoid both root canals and implants in many instances. As dentists, we strive to provide the best outcomes for our patients and it feels great to provide quality work that we are confident will provide optimal long-term success and minimize complications. Overall, patient and dentist satisfaction with biomimetic dentistry is extremely high.
Biomimetic dentistry has the potential to help prevent loss of permanent teeth as well as preserving and restoring teeth which are considered unrestorable by traditional principles of restorative dentistry.
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