When you think of changes that have occurred in dentistry over the decades, most likely the new and innovative treatments and technologies are what come to mind. But revolutionary treatments from veneers to implants wouldn’t be possible without the right materials that make them successful. For example, dental implants wouldn’t be possible without titanium, and the same could be said for other popular treatments. Discover how three materials have changed dentistry as we know it.
The Right Material for the Job
While it’s not something most people think about, many tools and objects we use wouldn’t be effective if they weren’t made of the right substances. Could you imagine hammering nails with a styrofoam hammer or driving a car made entirely of wood?
This is particularly true in dentistry. Prosthetics have to be flexible, customizable, yet strong enough to endure the rigors of chewing and speaking. The underlying truth that makes many dental treatments possible is that we discovered the material with the right properties for the job.
Three Materials That Changed Dentistry
From titanium’s ability to integrate with human bone to the strength and moldability of SmartTrack plastic, these remarkable materials have made some of the most popular treatments in dentistry possible. Explore three crucial dental procedures that wouldn’t exist without the right components.
Titanium Gives Dental Implants Unmatched Durability
When someone has missing teeth, it can lead to a lot of complications, so it’s generally better to have them replaced by any available restoration. However, dentures and dental bridges have a fatal flaw: they can’t stimulate the jawbone which causes it to shrink over time. This leads patients to develop early signs of aging such as sagging cheeks.
How Titanium Changed the Medical and Dental Industries
In the 1940’s, Professor Per‐Ingvar Brånemark accidentally discovered the special property of titanium that allows it to bond with living human bones. This occurred when he noticed that the titanium instruments he was using for an experiment involving rabbits had bonded with the animals’ bones and it wouldn’t budge. What he discovered that day was osseointegration, the process that enables the development of prosthetic limbs and implants of unparalleled strength and durability.
The Miracle of Osseointegration
While most materials will be rejected by human bone, titanium has the unique property of absorbing into the bone, becoming enveloped in it, and ultimately forming a solid, blended structure that secures it in place. Once this was proven to be a consistent process, it allowed us to attach strong prosthetic limbs and other implants for the first time.
Titanium and Dental Implants
The advantage provided by titanium makes dental implants the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Other restorations are limited because they adhere to the surface of the mouth, but implants protrude deep inside the jawbone, fusing together to create a solid foundation that can’t be duplicated with other materials. Experts like Dr. Jon Flint of Cornerstone Dental Care have restored beautiful smiles for many patients with dental implants, all thanks to titanium fixtures.
Invisalign and SmartTrack Plastic
Before clear braces gained widespread popularity, metal braces were the only way to straighten crooked teeth. These included metal brackets and wires, and had to be tightened regularly. Although extremely effective and still used today, metal braces have qualities that turn off a lot of patients, preventing them from getting the treatment they need.
Problems with Metal Braces
If metal braces were so effective, why was there a demand for an improved version of braces? The answer boils down to comfort and vanity. Patients reported problems with their metal braces painfully scratching against the side of their cheeks and lips, while the overall look of metal braces was a turn-off to many adults and teens who may truly need the procedure. It wasn’t long before a new innovation solved these problems and quickly gained popularity with teens and adults alike.
Invisalign Allows You to Straighten Your Teeth Discreetly
SmartTrack plastic is a special, man-made material that makes Invisalign the success it is today. Strong, flexible, and clear in appearance, this material is perfect for the aligners used with the Invisalign treatment.
The result is an extremely popular orthodontic solution that has soared in popularity since its inception. Without the versatility and strength of SmartTrack plastic, doctors like Stephen Grussmark in Miami, FL wouldn’t be able to provide this life-changing orthodontic solution.
How Porcelain Makes Veneers So Strong and Realistic
While other materials are sometimes used for veneers, it was originally ceramics such as porcelain that enabled their durability and stunning appearance. Veneers were discovered in 1983 as a way to improve a patient’s smile without having to fix every crack or stain on their teeth. Now in 2019, veneers remain the cosmetic procedure that can single-handedly give patients a Hollywood smile.
The Qualities Necessary for a Dental Veneer
Effective dental veneers require a material that has many conflicting qualities. They must be customizable and flexible to fit the needs of the patient, yet sturdy and strong enough to handle the biting process. Veneers also have to be thin enough to appear subtle when bonded to the front of a patient’s teeth, but durable enough to last and add strength to the tooth. Finally, they must be beautiful and natural-looking — these are all traits that porcelain proved ideal for.
Porcelain Provides Millions with a Hollywood Smile
Not many materials could balance the versatility, strength, and beauty provided by porcelain. Patients who have minor issues with their teeth can opt for porcelain veneers and walk out their dentist’s office with a stunning and realistic-looking new smile. To learn more about this procedure that can completely upgrade your appearance, simply schedule a consultation with a doctor who offers cosmetic treatments, such as the dental team at SoundBridge Dental Arts in Gig Harbor, WA.
What Will Be the Next Material to Revolutionize Dentistry?
Manmade materials are constantly being researched to assess their use in medical and dental procedures. As patients report problems with current treatments, researchers and doctors continue to experiment and develop new ways to improve them. Often, it’s the matter of finding the perfect material that determines which treatments will be overlooked, and which will work perfectly to benefit millions of patients’ lives.