Biomimetic Dentistry: Tooth Restorations as Strong as Natural Teeth
Natural teeth are designed to be strong, durable, and last a lifetime. But accidents happen, teeth become compromised, and dental repairs become necessary. Patients who have a cavity, broken tooth, or need a tooth restoration often opt to have the natural tooth “cut down” – but this choice weakens the natural tooth and fills it with materials that compromise the integrity and longevity of your tooth. Patents may need Biomimetic Dentistry.
Don’t risk losing the long-term functionality of a natural tooth or possibly even losing the entire tooth when your tooth can be repaired with biomimetic tooth restorations to mimic natural teeth.
Biomimetic Dentistry Mimics the Form and Function of Natural Teeth
“Bio” means life and “mimetic” means mimic. So, biomimetic “mimics life” – a biomimetic dental treatment is designed to mimic your natural teeth as closely as possible. And there is no better material for a tooth than the natural tooth’s structure itself. When you need a tooth restored or reconstructed due to decay or injury, the preservation of your natural tooth’s material and structure is always the top priority. Biomimetic dentistry is the restoration of teeth to emulate their natural biomechanical and esthetic form and function so they are strong, sealed from bacterial infection, and last significantly longer than they would after undergoing traditional restorative dentistry techniques.
Biomimetic Dentistry Is:
- High-Tech: Strong, durable, tooth-colored composite tooth restorations are used to restore the problem tooth.
- Ultraconservative: The treatment minimizes cutting to avoid the removal of too much of the natural tooth structure and to keep a safe distance from the nerve.
- Minimally Invasive: Deep drilling is refrained from and drilling in general is minimized.
- Aesthetic Perfection: Each restoration is a customized work of art that looks and functions like natural teeth.
The Drawbacks of Traditional Dentistry
Many of today’s most common restorative dental procedures are not all that modern. These dental procedures, taught in dental schools since the 1950s and earlier, are based on methods that have “worked” in the past, yet they are not backed up by science and research.
Three of the most common dental techniques for treating teeth today are tooth fillings, crowns (also known as caps), and root canals. As useful as these treatments have been until now, they do have their limitations and drawbacks.
The Pros and Cons of Tooth Fillings
There are two mainstream materials and techniques for treating cavities caused by decay: dental amalgam and bonding composite.
Dental amalgam fillings are also known as silver fillings or mercury fillings. This material contains bound mercury, one of the most toxic elements on earth. Chewing on these restorations can release mercury from the filling material which then allows the mercury to cross the blood-brain barrier and settle into the body. This toxic material will accumulate in the body over time, which can lead to greater health complications overall.
Removal of mercury amalgam fillings is necessary, but if not done properly this procedure can cause mercury particles to become airborne while the fillings are being drilled out, threatening the health of the patient, dental staff, and the environment.
Besides being unsightly, and graying over time, amalgam mercury fillings are also placed in such a way that they do not strengthen the tooth. In fact, this material and technique will eventually fracture the tooth, causing the need for further dental repairs. Ultimately, the longer an amalgam filling sits in your tooth, the more danger it poses to your oral health and entire well-being.
Composite fillings, also known as white fillings or bonded fillings, are composed of a material and require a technique that is far superior to amalgam mercury fillings. Not only does the composite mimic the look of a natural tooth, but when using the correct materials and techniques this type of filling requires less natural tooth removal and maintains the integrity of your tooth. And, of course, composite fillings are mercury free. The key here is that the filling needs to be bonded with the correct material and technique.
Considering Tooth Crowns
Your tooth has a natural flexibility within itself. This integrity is dependent upon the different layers of the tooth. Cutting down a tooth for a crown removes two of these three integral layers. The result is a very pliable core of remaining tooth structure. Placing a very rigid porcelain or metal crown on top of the remaining tooth stump takes away the natural flexibility of the tooth. The results of normal chewing function on this non-biocompatible crowned tooth are marginal leakage and eventual failure of the tooth itself.
Worst of all, the very nature of the technique for shaping a tooth for a crown brings the drill so close to the nerve that the nerve can sustain enough trauma to require root canal treatment. Root canal treatment becomes necessary in about 30 percent of cases where teeth are drilled down for crowns.
While a dental crown certainly repairs the problem of a broken tooth by repairing the tooth and making the tooth look natural again, there are drawbacks to this procedure.
Minimizing the Need for Root Canals
Root canal therapy is typically necessary in two situations: when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected as a result of deep decay, nerve exposure, and nerve damage; and to provide an anchor space for a post that will help retain a crown in a badly broken down tooth. In the second case, the tooth may not have had a damaged or infected nerve and the root canal was only necessary to help hold the crown, which is an excessive use of root canal therapy.
While root canal therapy is a wonderful way to save a tooth that has an infection or nerve damage, treating a tooth with root canal therapy just to help the tooth hold a crown is not an ideal way to save a tooth.
Biomimetic Dentistry: An Alternative to Traditional Dental Therapy
Techniques such as cutting, drilling, and filling do not preserve a tooth’s structure to maintain the overall natural health of the tooth for a lifetime. Fillings, crowns, and root canals merely fill in or cover over the problem, while also having the potential to make the problem even worse over the long term if the natural tooth breaks or cracks. Biomimetic dentistry is designed to completely avoid all restorative dentistry complications by using the right materials and techniques the first time around to mimic your tooth’s structure. Biomimetic dentistry protects the natural tooth and completely locks out bacteria for safer, more durable dental work.
Traditional dental techniques have not taken advantage of the advanced ceramics, composites and adhesives developed by modern engineering. These new technologies are allowing dental practices to use small onlays comprised of specialized composite materials or ceramics that work like the tooth’s natural structure. This means fewer cracked teeth, fewer teeth cut down for crowns, and fewer root canals. Fewer major dental repairs mean teeth stay healthier and last longer.
Moorestown Dental Professionals: Experts in Biomimetic Dentistry
Dr. Ahmed Esmail and Dr. Donna Rush-Esmail are graduates of The Alleman Center for Biomimetic Dentistry and are proud to be one of the few dental practices in the nation to offer this science-based dentistry to their patients. There are only 195 biomimetic dentists in the United States, and Drs. Esmail and Rush-Esmail are the only two dentists qualified in biomimetics in New Jersey.
We provide the following biomimetic dental treatments:
Dr. Rush-Esmail says:
“Dentists have different philosophies when it comes to care. We practice Biomimetic Dentistry (tooth-conserving) based on science and engineering principles. We believe the best dentistry is no dentistry, as nothing is as strong as your natural tooth. When dentistry is necessary, we believe in early diagnosis and treatment, to help maintain as much of the tooth’s natural integrity as possible. In doing so, it reduces or eliminates root canals or extractions long term.
In contrast, many dentists follow a more reactive approach. They may see a cracked tooth in a patient’s mouth and decide to ‘watch’ the tooth for future treatment, since the patient has no symptoms. When the tooth develops symptoms, they then treat it with more extensive treatments (root canals, crowns, implants). It is one of the biggest problems we see in dentistry today.”
Call (856) 234-4474 for your free private consultation or to schedule an appointment.