If you've read some of our previous posts on the history of dentistry then you know how lucky we are to live in a era of virtually pain free procedures.
Researchers never rest though, and are continually looking for new and improved ways of tending to our oral health. Here are just a few recent advances in dental care related to tooth maintenance or restoration. Ranging from treatments that help healing to devices for keeping our treasured teeth in our mouths.
Better Dental Implants
- Implants to replace lost teeth often used to fail but new types are far more long lasting. Around 15 years now. Often titanium is used as it is low density with high strength and highly resistant to corrosion.
- The implant fused with the jawbone and protrudes above the gum line. A connecting element called an abutment is added and then the crown is attached.
New Gum Disease Treatments
- It's not pleasant when gum start to recede and tends to occur more as the years advance, particularly after the big four-oh.
- "Pockets" form in gums when the tissue and bone surrounding teeth loses its snugness. Pesky bacteria then swarm in, adding to the destruction which can lead to tooth loss.
- Dental hygienists do a great job of helping to prevent issues when they scrape out plaque and tartar. Flossing is simple and effective too.
- However, when things progress too far more extreme measures may be required such as gum surgery to reduce the pockets.
- The latest development is the use of regenerative procedures to help restore bone and tissue using, e.g. membranes, bone grafts and proteins. With subsequent careful tending it can be possible to maintain teeth for a lifetime.
Improved Bonding & Filling Materials
- It hasn't previous been easy to repair a chipped tooth for example and match the shade and make it look natural
- New bonding materials are made from resin which is longer lasting and shinier than previously used substances.
- With many more shades to choose from it is now also easier to match to the colour of the original tooth too. Advances in the quality of cavity fillings mean that composite or porcelain can now be used rather than unsightly amalgam.
Thinner Veneers to Preserve More Tooth
- It used to be easier and the norm to remove damaged or misaligned teeth and put in falsies. But false teeth come with problems of their own so keeping the originals in place is far more preferable.
- Veneers can help improve teeth aesthetics and can be the least invasive method of altering crooked or unattractive teeth.
- The tooth has to be prepared for a veneer and this involves reshaping and reducing the surface area of the tooth in order for the veneer to fit comfortably.
- New materials enable veneers to be much thinner than previously (but still as strong) thus enabling more of the original tooth surface to remain intact.