Dentistry is an ever-evolving field. Today’s dentists are focusing on using modern innovation and technology to provide better care – from less-invasive fillings that use composite materials to perfectly-positioned dental implants, modeled with advanced 3D software for the best results.
In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the top trends and innovations in the world of restorative dentistry. Let’s get started now.
Conservative Approaches To Dental Restorations
This is a trend that’s becoming much more commonplace as dentists begin using resin-based fillings and porcelain crowns, which are better able to mimic the structure of the natural tooth. These products are typically able to bond more closely to the tooth than older restorations made of mercury-amalgam, or crowns made of materials like gold or stainless steel.
Because of this, many in restorative dentistry have begun taking a very conservative approach to dentistry, using advanced imaging tools and dental techniques to reduce the amount of damaged or decayed tooth material that must be removed before a restoration is applied.
This has a number of benefits. Treatment is less invasive, more of the original tooth is preserved, and the tooth is stronger, because it has had less of enamel removed during the preparation process.
Digital Impressions And Imaging
Traditional dental impressions are, undoubtedly, effective, consisting of a paste that patients bite into, to provide an impression and mold of their teeth. But they often taste bad, are uncomfortable for some patients, and have a tendency to trigger gagging in those who have a sensitive gag reflex.
Digital impressions and imaging are becoming far more commonplace, due to tools like CEREC, which use special powders and cameras to take digital scans and impressions of the teeth. There is no need for a patient to provide physical impressions – which keeps them feeling more comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
Buffered Anesthetic And Numbing Agents
Lidocaine, the most common numbing agent used in dentistry, is responsible for providing patients with a pain-free dental experience. In use since the 1940s, it’s been a very helpful numbing agent for dentists.
But lidocaine and many other numbing agents have a problem. They are highly acidic, which can lead to the “bee sting effect” causing burning, pain and discomfort during injections. And, due to this acidity, they are less freely-available when injected into the mouth, leading to waiting periods of 5-10 minutes or longer until the drug has an effect.
Buffered anesthetics and numbing agents use alkalinization to “buffer” the acid of lidocaine and similar products. Not only does this eliminate the common “bee sting” effect, it helps the solution become more freely-available, and take effect more quickly.
It’s been shown that buffering numbing agents can reduce the time it takes to achieve pulpal analgesia to about 2 minutes – compared to 5-10 minutes without buffering. This leads to better patient comfort, faster treatment times, and shorter wait times for other patients.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) In Oral Surgery
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentration of blood plasma with red blood cells removed, and has been investigated for its benefits for conditions like osteoarthritis, muscle and skeletal injuries, and in dentistry.
PRP may offer benefits for those who are suffering from periodontal disease, as well as patients who are healing from oral surgery. A systemic summary of available studies has shown that PRP can help improve soft tissue healing after tooth extractions, and to aid in the regeneration of bone during implant surgery. It may also have potential to help improve gingival health in patients who are being treated for moderate-to-severe periodontitis.
Know What The Future Holds For Restorative Dentistry
Just like every other medical professional, dentists are not satisfied with today’s procedures and technologies – and are always looking for the next big technology that can help provide better patients results. Look out for these innovations to become even more widespread in the coming years, as they continue to be studied, researched, and implemented.