Today’s message looks at one of the miracles of modern dentistry, the dental restoration.
Let’s pretend you are a biomedical engineer working in the field of dentistry before the discovery of restorative dentistry. The men and women of your generation with missing or damaged teeth want to repair or replace them with a man-made substitute. You have been hired to find or create a material that can be used to construct fillings, crowns, and dental bridges.
Finding the Right Material
Consider the physical and chemical requirements of this incredible item. It must sustain forces of 162 pounds per square inch (PSI), hundreds of times a day – day after day, year after year. It must be resistant to cracking and chipping. But there’s a catch regarding its stability; it must not hurt the enamel on opposing teeth. This material must also maintain its size and shape and be resistant to shrinking.
It must be able to bond to living tooth structure as well as other materials needed for specific appliances. It must be bio-compatible with the soft tissues in the mouth as well as tooth enamel, dentin, and bone. It can’t create allergic reactions in the wearers. It must be corrosion-resistant to the chemicals in saliva, foods, and beverages. It must resist infection regardless of ever-present bacteria in the mouth. And it can’t contain toxic chemicals that could be absorbed into the bloodstream.
It Needs to Look the Part Too
And we haven’t even talked about the aesthetics yet. Ideally, this wondrous material would be indistinguishable from actual teeth in color, opacity, and translucence.
Of course, we know now that such an entity exists because restorative dentistry has been around for a long time. Nowadays, there are numerous materials used alone or in combination including porcelain, ceramic, and metals such as gold and silver amalgam. Though the metals are extremely strong and malleable, they don’t meet some patient’s aesthetic requirements and are used mainly for back teeth.
Although, it is interesting to note that porcelain, one of the ideal materials used in modern restorations, was invented over 2000 years ago in China.
Sometimes its fun to wonder if the ancient Chinese porcelain creators who developed the techniques for molding, firing, and painting the beautiful tableware and vases prized around the world ever imagined that their invention would live beautifully in the mouths of millions of individuals more than twenty centuries later!
Visit Us at White & White
White & White offers affordable procedures such as porcelain veneers, wisdom teeth removal, Six Month Smiles, sedation dentistry, and restorative dentistry. For more information, call White & White today or visit our office in Midlothian, Virginia.
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